Peter Monamy is ranked as one of two leaders, the other being Samuel Scott (1701-1772), in the first generation of English marine painters. He spent his early life completing an apprenticeship for a specialised decoration business (the Worshipful Company of Painter-Stainers) at Old London Bridge. Peter Monamy was later credited with Liveryman of Painter-Stainer's Company in 1726 to whom he donated the painting 'Royal Sovereign at anchor' which remains in their collection today. Although Peter Monamy spent much of his time in London it is known he spent many hours exploring coastlines and observing ports, working directly from nature.
Peter Monamy (1681-1749)
Sir Alfred James Munnings KCVO, PRA (8 October 1878 – 17 July 1959) grew up in East Anglia (Waveney Valley) and left school at the age of 14 for an apprenticeship with a printing firm in Norwich. He studied painting during evening classes, and this enabled him to leave the printing business and set up as an artist in his own right. The loss of sight in his right eye in an accident in 1898 did not deflect his determination to paint, and in 1899 two of his pictures were shown at the Royal Academy Summer Exhibition. A visit to the Lavenham Horse Fair sparked off Munnings’ lifelong fascination with painting horses and country fairs – his two main areas of artistic expertise. Munnings visited Paris and Munich, taking inspiration from painters such as Henrich von Zügel (1850–1941) before joining the artists’ colony at Newlyn, Cornwall in 1911, where Sir Alfred James Munnings shared the common enthusiasm for painting directly from nature. He was turned down for active service in World War I but was sent to France in 1918 to record the actions of the Canadian Cavalry Brigade. On visiting the USA for six months in 1924 Munnings was besieged with society commissions, before being elected R.A. in 1926 and then President of the Royal Academy in 1944. Sir Alfred James Munnings was one of the greatest sporting artists of his generation, and after his death his wife turned their home in Dedham into a museum for his work.
Sir Alfred James Munnings KCVO, PRA (8 October 1878 – 17 July 1959)
George Stubbs has long been considered Britain`s finest sporting painter owing to his meticulous examination and observation of the equine subject. He was born in Liverpool and worked for his father’s leather business until his mid-teens when he decided to pursue an art career. Largely self-taught, he initially painted portraits in northern England before choosing to study anatomy in York. His fascination with the subject developed further in 1754, when he spent 18 months dissecting horses in Lincolnshire. It seems this period provided vital inspiration and research for his later 1766 landmark publication, The Anatomy of the Horse – a groundbreaking set of engravings lauded for its scientific approach and attention to detail. It was recognition such as this that saw Stubbs receive generous patronage from aristocratic sportsmen, the success of which allowed him to be based in the fashionable London district of Marylebone for the rest of his life. His patrons marvelled in his ability to record sporting fact to a higher refinement than respected painters John Wootton and James Seymour before him.
Whilst no one could deny his ability and innovative methods, there were some in high artistic circles who believed his commitment to the `lowly` genre of sporting art, distanced him from the pinnacle of the contemporary art scene. Resultantly Stubbs never achieved full membership of the Royal Academy. During the second half of his career Stubbs diversified in an attempt to gain wider recognition. In particular he produced the famous Lion and Horse series, acclaimed for uniting classical subject matter with contemporary technique. The series was also used on a number ceramic plaques in a collaboration with Josiah Wedgwood during the late 1770s. One of his final projects, worked on from 1795, was Comparative Anatomy – a set of drawings comparing and contrasting dissected animals and humans. It was projects such as this that placed Stubbs at the cutting edge of art and science.
Today one need not look beyond the salerooms to recognise Stubbs` importance. With results frequently in excess of a million pounds, he can be ranked alongside the elite of British painters. The world record for a Stubbs painting is £22,441,250 which was achieved for Gimcrack on Newmarket Heath at Christie`s in London on July 5th, 2011.
George Stubbs, A.R.A. (1724-1806)
Camilla had a passion for clay modelling from her early teens at school, where she won her first sculpture award aged 16, but it was only in 1996 after encouragement from the late Sir Eduardo Paolozzi, on a Masterclass at Edinburgh College of Art, that she decided to pursue her sculpting seriously. Her work has been exhibited by established galleries since 2000 and has been bought by private collectors worldwide, recently being acquired for a Royal collection overseas. Elected as an Associate member of the Society of Equestrian Artists last year, she has won awards from the British Sporting Art Trust and the Society of Wildlife Artists.
Through sales of her works she has to date raised over £35,000 for charities. Earlier this year her bronze of Nicky, the blind baby rhino on Lewa Wildlife Conservancy raised £10,700 (from sales of 3 editions) for Lewa supported by a letter from Sir David Attenborough.
Her life size bronze of Sefton the famous Household Cavalry horse commissioned for the Royal Veterinary College was unveiled in October. Camilla was the inaugural artist in reidence for the RVC 2010-12 and during this residency she benefited from the critique of vets on her sculpture of Sefton, and attended various practicals and had access to footage from the RVC structure and motion lab:
“This has given me a more thorough understanding of animal anatomy and gait and encouraged a more deeper level of observation of anatomy which has been invaluable to the development of my sculpture practice. I apply all I have learnt to all my work be it of a horse, rhino or any other animal.”
Camilla now splits her time between the UK and Kenya where she is happiest sculpting the wildlife in wilderness areas. She tries wherever possible, to sculpt directly from life, ideally in the animal's natural surroundings (preferably not in captivity):
“…this way I get to know my subjects better (their form, character and behaviour). It is also a wonderful experience quietly observing and getting to know my subject. I am increasingly moving towards sculpting ‘portraits’ of individuals rather than a generic portrayal of a species type, even if in the wild.”
This approach has been evolving particularly over the last year on her trips to Kenya where she has spent several months sculpting various individual captive and wild rhinos from life.
Her work is initially modelled in clay or wax and then cast into bronze. Having worked at a bronze foundry she is very particular about the finish, doing all the waxwork, final chasing and most of the patinas herself.
Each bronze is signed and numbered mostly in limited editions of 9 or 12.
Born in 1952 in Denmark, Paul Augustinus grew up in Kenya, Tanzania and Zimbabwe. After qualifying as a Geologist he worked in this industry for a year before taking up painting full time. A self taught artist, Augustinus draws his inspiration from the romance of the wild game country that he has made his home over the years.
Augustinus has spent the majority of his career in the wilderness in some of Africa's last remaining bastions of wildlife, spending ten years in Northern Botswana game reserves, three years in the Kaokoverldg in Namibia and eight months in the rainforests of Equatorial Africa. He has also travelled extensively in North America, Asia and Europe in the pursuit of material for his wildlife paintings. He currently lives in East Africa with his wife.
As well as participating in group shows at the Tryon Galleries in 2001, 2003 and 2007, he has also had outstanding solo exhibitions at the gallery in 2006, 2008 and 2012.
Paul Augustinus (b. 1952)