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Creator:
Sir Alfred J. Munnings, 1878–1959, British
Title:

Paul Mellon on Dublin

Date:
1933
Medium:
Oil on canvas
Dimensions:
Support (PTG): 31 x 37 1/2 inches (78.7 x 95.3 cm)
Inscription(s)/Marks/Lettering:

Signed in brown paint, lower right: "A. J. Munnings"

Credit Line:
Yale Center for British Art, Paul Mellon Collection
Copyright Status:
© Estate of Sir Alfred Munnings
Accession Number:
B2001.2.230
Classification:
Paintings
Collection:
Paintings and Sculpture
Subject Terms:
animals | costume | dogs (animals) | equestrian | horse (animal) | landscape | portrait | riding | rural | sporting art
Access:
Not on view
Link:
https://collections.britishart.yale.edu/catalog/tms:17299
Export:
XML

Paul Mellon acquired his lifelong love of country pursuits at Cambridge in 1930, and it was to encourage his interest in quintessentially English field sports that his mother, herself a keen horsewoman, presented him with the big Irish bay stallion called Dublin. In his memoirs, Mr. Mellon described Dublin as his favorite among the many hunters he had owned over a period of sixty years. “He pulled a bit and was strong as a locomotive,” wrote Mr. Mellon, “and was strong as a locomotive, but although a so-called three-quarter-bred, he had enough foot and staying power not to disgrace me in several point-to-points. He could have jumped the Eiffel Tower. I think it was Dublin more than anything else who assured my lifelong addiction to hunting. He had huge quarters and a wonderful long front, and his eye had the ‘look of eagles’” (Mellon, 1992, p. 228).

In many respects, Munnings was a natural choice of artist for this commission because he had an established Anglo-American clientele, was himself passionate about foxhunting, and had painted similar open-air portraits of the Prince of Wales, the Princess Royal, and members of the English aristocracy. Mr. Mellon recalled bringing Munnings by train to the farm near Eastleach, in Gloucestershire, where Dublin was boarded, so that sketches could be made. Munnings returned there several times on his own, presumably feeling freer to go about his business unobserved. He chose, however, to execute the portrait of his young patron in the comfort of his studio in Chelsea. The result is the best surviving portrait of Paul Mellon, one that conveys not merely the sitter’s passion for sport but also his natural grace and elegance.

Mr. Mellon’s companions in the background could belong to any of the three packs with whom he rode in Gloucestershire at this date: the Duke of Beaufort’s hounds, the Vale of White Horse Hunt (VWH Bathurst and Cricklade), and the Cotswold.

Angus Trumble

John Baskett, Paul Mellon's legacy: a passion for British art : masterpieces from the Yale Center for British Art, Yale Center for British Art, New Haven, CT, 2007, p. 297, no. 116, pl. 116, N5220 M552 P38 2007 OVERSIZE (YCBA)



"He pulled a bit and was strong as a locomotive," Paul Mellon wrote of his Irish hunter Dublin, "but although a so-called three-quarter-bred, he had enough foot and staying power not to disgrace me in several point-to-points. He could have jumped the Eiffel Tower. I think it was Dublin more than anything else who assured my lifelong addiction to hunting. He had huge quarters and a wonderful long front, and his eye had the 'look of eagles.'" Munnings painted the portrait largely during Paul Mellon's visit to England in 1932, the horse at its stables in Gloucestershire and Paul Mellon in the studio in Chelsea. Before delivering the finished work, Munnings sent a photograph. Paul Mellon wrote to him that he found the bushy willow tree on the left a little disturbing and asked whether he could do something to make it less prominent. "Sometime later I got a blast back saying in the first place, the tree wasn't a willow, it was a pollarded oak, and second, he had no intention of changing anything whatsoever. So that was that."

Malcolm Warner

Warner, Malcolm and John Baskett. The Paul Mellon Bequest : treasures of a lifetime. New Haven : Yale Center for British Art, 2001, p. 13

John Baskett, Paul Mellon's Legacy: a Passion for British Art: Masterpieces from the Yale Center for British Art, , Yale Center for British Art, New Haven, CT, 2007, p. 297, no. 116, pl. 116, N5220 M552 P38 2007 OVERSIZE (YCBA)

Stanley Booth, Alfred Munnings, 1878-1959, a centenary tribute. An appreciation of the artist and a selection of his paintings / by Stanley Booth. , Philip Wilson Publishers Ltd, London, UK, 1978, pp. 188-189, Folio A N 42 (YCBA)

Malcolm Cormack, Country pursuits, British, American, and French sporting art from the Mellon collections in the Virginia Museum Of Fine Arts , Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Richmond, Charlottesville, 2007, pp. 59, 60, fig. 37, ND1383 G7 V57 2007 + OVERSIZE (YCBA)

Paul Mellon, Reflections in a silver spoon, a memoir , W. Morrow, New York, 1992, pp. 228-29, N5220 M552 1992 (YCBA)

Amy Meyers, Modesty and Munificence, Apollo, v. 165, no. 542, April 2007, p. 30, fig. 3, N1 A54 + (YCBA)

Munnings, Out in the Open : the open-air works of Sir Alfred James Munnings (English, 1878-1959) , National Sporting Library and Museum, Middleburg, VA, 2013, pp. 51, 70-71, 128, Pl. 42, NJ18.M9625 M8 2013 (YCBA)

Paul Mellon's Legacy, a passion for British art. [large print labels] , Yale Center for British Art, New Haven, CT, 2007, v. 1, N5220 M552 +P381 2007, Mellon Shelf (YCBA)

Lorian Peralta-Ramos, The mastery of Munnings, Sir Alfred J. Munnings, 1878-1959 , National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame, Saratoga Springs, New York, 2000, pp. 49-50, NJ18 M9625 P47 2000 + (YCBA)

Duncan Robinson, Paul Mellon: a Cambridge tribute, , The Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge [England], 2007, p. 18, 46, cover, N5220 M552 P36 2007 (YCBA)

The life and work of Sir Alfred Munnings, the National Horseracing Museum's exhibition : April 18th until November 4th, 2007 , National Heritage Center for Horseracing & Sporting Art, Newmarket [England, 2007, inside back cover, NJ18.M9625 L55 2007 OVERSIZE (YCBA)

Malcolm Warner, Great British paintings from American collections, Holbein to Hockney , Yale Center for British Art, New Haven, CT, 2001, p. 14, fig. 17, ND464 W27 2001 (YCBA)

Malcolm Warner, The Paul Mellon Bequest : treasures of a lifetime, , Yale Center for British Art, New Haven, CT, 2001, p. 13, N5247 M385 P28 2001 (YCBA)

Giles Waterfield, Mr Mellon, RA : the magazine for the Friends of the Royal Academy, No. 96, Autumn 2007, p. 71, V 1905 (YCBA) Detached from RA, no.96 (2007:Autumn)


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