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Drawing by Munnings of a horse and a horse head on paper

Revealing Munnings: rediscovered drawings from the NUA archives

East GalleryNUA is exhibiting drawings by one of Norwich University of the Arts’ most renowned alumni, Sir Alfred Munnings.

The fourteen drawings are on public display for the first time, after being uncovered in the University archive. They demonstrate Munnings’ emerging expertise as a draughtsman and his aptitude for capturing human and animal form while he was a student at the Norwich School of Art, now NUA.

The drawings are in urgent need of conservation, so the University has launched a public appeal for help to raise the funds necessary to preserve these extraordinary works for future generations.

The Conservation Appeal

The conservation work required to preserve the drawings is a specialist process involving the removal of the works from the acidic mounts which, if left, would gradually erode the drawings. The conservator will carefully clean each drawing and we anticipate that the conservation process will take around six months. Once the drawings have been conserved they will be remounted, framed and shown as part of a major exhibition of the artist’s work at East GalleryNUA in 2019 to mark the 60th anniversary of Munnings’ death.

The 2019 exhibition will include some of the artist’s well-known early paintings from the NUA Collection and some significant loans from other institutions such as the The Munnings Art Museum in Dedham.

We would welcome donations to the appeal, no matter how modest in order to conserve these valuable works for the future. A donation of £50 or more to the conservation project will see the donor’s name featured in a publication that will accompany the exhibition.

To donate

Support the appeal online

Donate now

Donate in person

It is also possible to donate in person at East GalleryNUA The exhibition is open from Wednesday 7 February to Saturday 17 February 2018. Opening hours 12 noon- 5pm, closed on Sunday and Monday. Entry to the exhibition, as to all exhibitions at East GalleryNUA, is free.

About Sir Alfred Munnings

Alfred Munnings was born in 1878 and was a student at Norwich School of Art in the 1890s, having moved to Norwich from Mendham, Suffolk. He worked as an apprentice for printers, Page Brothers and later as a designer for the renowned biscuit and chocolate manufacturer, Caley’s of Norwich, but his aim was to be able to make a living from painting.

In 1899, just a year after executing some of the NUA drawings, two of Munnings’ paintings were shown in the Royal Academy Summer Exhibition in London. Having realised his ambition to become a self-sufficient artist, he proceeded to become a successful painter of portraits and horses, a war artist in World War I, and president of the Royal Academy of Arts from 1944-1949.

Munnings and life drawing at NUA

The pre-conservation exhibition of the rediscovered Munnings works will include drawing by today’s students.

Visitors will see how the life drawing skills acquired by Munnings at Norwich School of Art in the 1890s are embraced by today’s NUA students in the visulisation and design of computer games and animation. Life drawing remains an essential ingredient of an arts education at NUA, both for fine art and the other subject areas, where life drawing is incorporated as a tool for technological and technical innovation.

One of the exciting opportunities of this conservation project is for students to understand that the life drawing that they practice at NUA is part of an historical tradition that is as relevant now as it was when Munnings was a student here in Norwich.

Page Bros print company logo

Supported by Page Bros Group

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Life drawing by Alfred Munnings of man standing with hand on hip
Alfred Munnings drawing of horse on paper

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