Our Second Successful Painting Competition Draws Artists to the Banks of the River Stour

The museum’s second Spirit of the Stour plein air painting competition took place over last weekend, Friday 21st to Sunday 23rd September, and was a great success. Artists, both amateur and professional, were attracted once again to the Essex / Suffolk border, on the banks of the river between Dedham, Flatford and Stratford St Mary. A number of the artists travelling from Norfolk, Kent, London and Bedfordshire to participate.

The competition was run in conjunction with the museum’s current special exhibition Munnings and the River which explores a lesser known side to the artist Alfred Munnings, one of Britain’s greatest horse painters (1878-1959).

The exhibition consists of fifty of Munnings’ river landscape paintings and the museum’s
Director, Jenny Hand, encouraged competitors to “take Munnings’ own passion for capturing the beauty of English rivers and their surrounding countryside”, in conveying scenes from banks of the Stour.

With only five hours each day in which to complete their paintings, 36 artists set up their easels in ‘challenging’ weather. They were not deterred and their creative energy and commitment yielded a glorious array of 65 watercolours, oils, gouache, pencil and paintings using egg tempera. These were then displayed for family, friends and the public to view in an exhibition finale on Sunday afternoon.

Winner Andrew Horrod, judges James Colman and Sarah Harris and museum director, Jenny Hand

Judges James Colman, plein air artist and founder of Paint Out, Norwich and Sarah Harris of the Dedham Educational Foundation deliberated over the entries for over an hour. They awarded the £250 Overall prize to Wimbledon Art Studios based artist Andrew Horrod for his painting Reflections by Dedham Mill and the Amateur category prize of £100 to Sarah Allbrook for Dedham Boathouse. Satisfyingly, both pictures were quickly sold to eager art lovers.


A selection of the paintings from the competition are on display throughout October in The Munnings Art Museum’s café in the garden (free entry). They are also available to buy so come and enjoy lunch or tea and cake in the café and pick up a piece of the Spirit of the Stour for yourself.


Munnings and the River and a further 150 paintings displayed throughout the museum and charting the life and work of Sir Alfred Munnings, continues until Wednesday 31st October 2018, Wednesday to Sunday, 2-5pm.