Signed & dated l.l. March 1926, titled verso
34.3 x 50.3 cm
Christie's, London, Anonymous Sale, 03.10.1972, Lot 277
The Hon. Lord Moynihan [Possibly Anthony Berkeley Moynihan, 3rd Baron Moynihan]
Claude Muncaster was the son of the landscape artist Oliver Hall RA. He followed his father's career path early on in life, painting landscapes under his tutelage from the age of fifteen onwards. He signed his early works Grahame Muncaster to distinguish himself from his famous father and avoid any suggestion of his gaining from the connection, and changed his name by deed poll in 1947 to Claude Muncaster. He spent the 1920's and 1930's aboard various ships around the world, including working as a deckhand aboard a windjammer that sailed round the Horn, painting and sketching life at sea. This was a subject he was to continue throughout his life and one for which he became renowned, becoming a foundermember of the Society of Marine Artists and later its President.
At the outbreak of war, Muncaster joined the RNVR and trained as a navigator. His rudimentary mathematics were something of an obstacle and he was instead recruited as a camofluage artist, a role for which he was fantastically well-qualified. He was also commissioned as an official war artist and painted views of British ships in Egypt and the Middle-East in the final years of the War. Shortly after the War Muncaster received a commission from the Queen to paint watercolours of the Royal Residences at Windsor, Sandringham and Balmoral. The Duke of Edinburgh was particularly taken with these and he wrote the foreword to Muncaster's biography:
"I look at Claude Muncaster’s landscape watercolours at Sandringham and Balmoral and the one big landscape in oils and I wonder in hopeless mystification just how he managed to do it. It is not that he just had a talent for applying paint, he had an unerring instinct for a subject and with some sort of secret antenna he was able to sense the atmosphere and then incorporate it into the picture in a way which was uniquely his. Technique and observation obviously played their parts, but there is more to it than that. Attitude, experience, application; certainly, but in the end there is no other word for it than sheer talent".
Muncaster also worked on a number of commercial commissions, including meticulously detailed large panoramas of the Thames and Bradford. He was an excellent public speaker, which led to his work as a lecturer and appearances as a broadcaster. Muncaster's first solo exhibition was at the Fine Art Society, London in 1926, and he exhibited prolifically throughout his life. In the year that the present work was painted, he was chosen to replace Samuel 'Lamorna' Birch as President of the St Ives Society, just one of a number of important artistic positions he held during his career. His works can be found in numerous public collections including the Royal Academy, Tate and National Maritime Museum.