Although the influence of Monet and Sargent is clear in the work of Alfred Munnings, it is perhaps the spirit of Constable which is most evident in this highly atmospheric work depicting one of Munnings favourite locations, Langham on the Stour. In his autobiography, he wrote ‘To use the word Arcadia here is not affectation. No other word could describe Langham Mill, its lock, bridge, mill-pool, floodgates and trees'
Both artists were fascinated with capturing the fleeting effects of light and weather and it is in his paintings of pure landscape that Munnings was at his most free to paint as he wished, away from the constraints of equestrian portrait commissions.
All commissioned work can, on occasion, become a little formulaic but in his landscape paintings, such as ‘Langham on the Stour’, Munnings shows his freedom, joy and great ability in the pure handling of paint, the pleasure of the medium itself; a moment in time captured with bravura brushwork.
Indeed Munnings was famously to declare ’What are pictures for? To fill a man’s soul with admiration and sheer joy’.