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This depicts King George V and Queen Mary, with the future Kings Edward VIII and George VI, returning to Windsor Castle across Windsor Great Park after attending Ascot races. Munnings was elected a Royal Academician in 1925, the year of this painting, and he recalled that he wished to 'make an ambitious effort': this 'ten-footer', as he called it, was the result. Munnings consciously invited comparision with earlier compositions of this kind by eighteenth century British artists. The picture was painted partly out of doors, with the horses and the carriage done from life, and then completed in Munnings's London studio.

August 2004