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Revealing Munnings: Rediscovered Drawings from the Norwich University Archives

East Gallery 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 at East Gallery, 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 Norwich University of the Arts.

The drawings are in urgent need of conservation, so the University is launching 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 Gallery 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 Collection and some significant loans from other institutions such as the Munnings 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.

Donate in person

It is also possible to donate in person at East Gallery

Exhibition 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 Gallery, 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 Norwich University 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 Norwich

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 Norwich University of the Arts students in the visualisation and design of computer games and animation. Life drawing remains an essential ingredient of an arts education at Norwich, 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 Norwich University of the Arts is part of an historical tradition that is as relevant now as it was when Munnings was a student here in Norwich.

Get in touch

Opening times:
Tuesday – Friday 12–5pm, Saturday 12–4pm
Admission free

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For further information about anything on this page call +44 (0)1603 610561. East Gallery: 01603 610561