James Harvey British Art

Sir Alfred J. Munnings, K.C.V.O., P.R.A (1878-1959)

Mrs. Robert Rankin and her Daughters, Broughton Towers
Oil on Cavnas
Dimenions:
Stock No.: P3F0002
Location: Gallery (Chelsea)
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Sir Alfred J. Munnings, K.C.V.O., P.R.A (1878-1959)
Mrs. Robert Rankin and her Daughters, Broughton Towers
Oil on canvas
Painted circa 1922
101.5 x 152.5 cm. (40 x 60 in)

Provenance:
Possibly commissioned by Sir Robert Rankin, Bt. (1877-1960);
Thence by descent;
Sale: Christie’s, London, March 1st 1968, lot 194;
Richard Green, London;
Anonymous sale;
Private collection, UK.

Exhibited:
Royal Academy, 1922 (no. 111)

Literature:
Lindsay, Lionel, AJ Munnings, RA, Pictures of Horses and English Life, London, 1927, no. XIX, pl. 33
Lindsay, Lionel, AJ Munnings, RA, Pictures of Horses and English Life, London, 1939 edition, illus. p. 125
Munnings, Sir Alfred J., The Second Burst, London, 1951, p.139

A rare subject for the artist, displaying Munnings' distinctive impressionistic virtuosity, and in the artist's own words “without a sight of a horse”.[1]

In 1922, Munnings painted several equine portraits, but in his biography it is the present work that he takes time to describe:

'Besides these, there were two other commissions - one without a sight of a horse - of Mrs. Robert Rankin, who had been a Herkomer student at Bushey, and her daughters, painted at Broughton Towers in Cumberland, on a lawn amongst hills, with a large, castellated mansion in the park below. Although the sun shines in the picture, it never ceased raining all the time I was there, except for one day which was Grasmere Sports, and there I saw high-jumping with a pole, wrestling on a green lawn and hound trials over a ten-mile point.' [2]

Mrs. Renée Rankin was the first wife of Sir Robert Rankin, Bt. (1877-1960). In 1922 when this picture was painted he was Mr. Robert Rankin and he was given the Baronetcy in 1937, after the couple had divorced. Their eldest daughter was later Mrs. Corise Shaw and the younger became Lady Grandy. Broughton Tower, the seat of Sir Robert Rankin, is near Furness, Lancashire. Pevsner described it thus, 'A spacious mansion built round a 14th Century pele tower. On the north side the tower is visible up to about sixty feet. Its basement is tunnelvaulted, as usual, and the spiral staircase survives. The Gilpin Sawreys in the mid-18th Century...built the house and especially the charming centre of the south front. The porch with clustered shafts is uncommonly pretty...In 1882-3 the wings were added, keeping on the front in harmony with the Georgian work.' [3]

[1] Munnings, Sir Alfred J., op.cit., 1951, p.139
[2] Ibid.
[3] Pevsner, N., The Buildings of England: Lancashire 2, The Rural North, London, 1969, p. 78