Grey horses were always my delight —

Grey horses were always my delight; my imagination stirred at the sight of them. I have told of the grey mare with dapples and silky silver mane and queer temper. She remains the same spirited creature in my mind now as she appeared to me long ago.

My Grey Mare, 1914

Clean-curved, nervous ears, a long neck, black legs and hard tendons with a white hind leg. Her mane was well kept, she had a smart docked tail and looked a picture in silver-mounted harness. Then there was Merrylegs, a white pony about 13.2 hands, also docked, but not so beautiful as the mare.

A horse which I lived with and saw every morning as we knelt at family prayers was in an old oil-painting hanging in a plain maple frame. This was of a grey horse with a full eye and ears pricked, standing in a landscape with a cloudy sky behind which emphasised its white form. The distance, full of interest, was painted with care, and no doubt was the same distance that the artist had used in many other horse portraits. I last saw the picture in my mother’s home. At the bottom of the canvas was written: “Grey Horse Orinoco the property of William

Green Munnings of Stoke-by-Nayland. J. Hobart, Pinxt 1840.”

Alfred Munnings, An Artist’s Life, 1950 (his autobiography)