There has never been a more important time to support the local arts and culture, so as lockdown eases why not take some time out to experience to experience one of the county's most iconic museums?

Munnings Art Museum in Dedham is home to Castle House, where the renowned painter, Alfred J Munnings, lived with his wife, Violet, from 1919 until his death in 1959.

Great British Life: Alfred and Violet Munnings, early 1920Alfred and Violet Munnings, early 1920 (Image: Estate of Sir Alfred Munnings)

Munnings is most famous for his magnificent paintings of horses, which drew much critical acclaim during World War I. After this period, he went on to enjoy commercial success, taking commissions from society and presiding over the Royal Academy for 15 years.

His life was extraordinary and yet typical of the artists and writers of the 20th century - a tragic first marriage, outspoken opinions and friends in high places.

However, through all of this his passion for the Dedham Vale and Castle House remained constant and its contents are now a museum, offering a rare insight into his full life experiences as both a man and an artist.

The museum’s latest exhibition, Yours with Love, AJ, features hand-written correspondence between Munnings and his second wife, Violet. In over 54 letters, Munnings pines for the ‘house of his dreams’ and the trials of painting aristocracy on horseback.

Great British Life: One of Sir Alfred Munnings' lettersOne of Sir Alfred Munnings' letters (Image: Simon Ford)

Excitingly, these letters offer a different perspective to Munnings’ legacy that will surprise experts and endear newcomers. You are also able to purchase an exclusive book, which contains all of his letters via the museum’s shop.

Lockdown may have had us all cooped up inside, but with breath-taking art, entertaining letters and the freedom of the arts, you can escape anywhere.

Munnings Art Museum reopens in late May, when you will be able to see Yours with Love, AJ.

Castle Hill, Dedham, Colchester CO7 6AZ;



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