View More Collection 



Sir Alfred J. Munnings

(British, 1878 – 1959)

Aunt Polly's Hackney, 'Hamlet', 1905

Oil on canvas

Size: 20.0 x 24.0 in/50.8 x 61.0 cm

Signed and dated ‘1905’. Inscribed 'Hamlet/ The property of Mrs Hill - Mulbarton/ Sire - 'Lord Hamlet' by 'Lord Derby II'/ Dam - 'Madge' by 'Cadet'' lower left.


Gifted to Mr and Mrs Hill (Aunt Polly) by the artist;

Private Collection, United Kingdom



The Taylor Gallery, London, Sir Alfred Munnings; Some Early Works, Spring 2015



Painted in 1905, Aunt Polly's Hackney, 'Hamlet' is one of the artist’s early works, where his development as a painter of horses is seen. Using soft brushstrokes in a light brown Munnings has portrayed Hamlet’s gleaming muscles and coat. Combined with the addition of a bright white in the horse’s eye to depict its curious expression, Munnings has captured the very character of Hamlet.

This work was gift for Mrs Polly Hill, Munnings' aunt, who features in Munnings' autobiography 'An Artist's Life', ‘My Uncle Arthur who used to put me in front of him on his horse when I was a small boy, married the daughter of a comparatively wealthy farmer, and lived and died at Church Farm, Swainsthorpe, five miles from Norwich. His widow, Aunt Polly, had again married, a well-to-do bachelor, a Mr Hill, who farmed in a large way at Mulbarton, the next parish



British, 1767-1835

“Phosphorus” in a Landscape

Signed and dated B. Marshall pt 1800

Oil on canvas 34¼ x 40¼ inches (87 x 102.3)

Framed: 41 x 47 inches (104 x 119.3 cm)


Mr. Taplin’s Phosphorus, by Eclipse out of Herod, grand dam of Matchem, “was purchased as a two-year-old for 200 guineas and considered most favourable in training since he beat three of the best trial horses. But he sustained an injury shortly afterwards so was never raced. After being quartered at stables for over a year Mr. Taplin bought him and hunted him during the 1797-98 season with the King’s Staghounds and was admired by George III” (Aubrey Noakes, Ben Marshall 1768-1835, Leigh-on-Sea, 1978, p. 31).


Sir Walter Gilbey (1831-1914), who owned this work by Marshall, was a prominent collector of Sporting art and literature and author of biographies of George Stubbs and George Morland, and of the well known volumes titled Animal Painters of England from the Year 1650, published in 1900.

Provenance Sir Walter Gilbey, Bart., London (sale, Christie’s, London March 15, 1910, lot 118) J. & W. Vokins, London, acquired at the above sale Tresham Gilbey, J.P., Bishop’s Stortford, Herts., son of Walter Gilbey (sale, Christie’s, London, May 30, 1947, lot 74) M. Bernard, acquired at the above sale Frost & Reed, Ltd., London Private Collection, Canada


Literature Aubrey Noakes, Ben Marshall 1768-1835, Leigh-on-Sea, 1978, pp. 31, 68, listed under no. 1