Alfred Munnings was born 8 October 1878 at Mendham, Suffolk across the River Waveney from Harleston in Norfolk. His father ran a water-mill on the river at Mendham. At fourteen he was apprenticed to a Norwich printer, designing and drawing advertising posters for the next six years, attending the Norwich School of Art in his spare time. When his apprenticeship ended, he became a full-time painter. 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. He painted rural scenes, frequently of subjects such as Gypsies and horses. He was associated with the Newlyn School of painters. Munnings' career would be associated with equine painting: he often depicted horses involving in hunting and racing.