At an early age, Munnings was apprenticed to a firm of Norwich lithographers while simultaneously taking evening classes at the Norwich School of Art. He developed a blond palette and broad painting technique which testified to an interest in French Impressionism. A brief part of his career was spent in the vicinity of Cornwall’s Newlyn group of artists, whose work he admired. He specialised in views of the rural life, with particular emphasis on hunting and racing pictures. He was made President of the Royal Academy and knighted in 1944. He continued to paint and to receive prestigious commissions until close to his death in 1959.