This colourful landscape depicts the city of Fez, the second largest city in Morocco. Found in Northern inland Morocco, Fez is surrounded by hills and the old city itself is centred around the Fez River.
In this landscape Munro has painted the old Medina city with the rolling hills behind. In the distance the artist has depicted the walls of Fez that surround the old town Medina. These stretch for five miles and were built to protect the Moroccan city from their attacking enemies in the 8th Century.
Fez has retained its status as the country’s cultural and spiritual centre, containing countless madrasas, fondouks, palaces, residences, mosques and fountains. Its tangled network of lanes is home to extraordinary Islamic architecture. In this painting the viewer is confronted with a sea of rooftops, all different in form and use, together creating a patchwork of shapes that cover the bustling working city. The vibrant, but contained, colour palette used by Munro effectively conveys the enduing heat that the city and its nearby natural environment has learnt to endure.
Munro was born in Mid Calder, Midlothian and educated at George Heriot’s School, Edinburgh and at the Royal Scottish Academy Life School. In 1925 he won the Chalmers-Jervis Bursary Prize and Carnegie Travelling Scholarship, which took him to Paris to study with Andre Lhote.
In the 1920s and 1930s he travelled extensively in Europe (Italy, Holland, Norway, Denmark and Finland) and North Africa (Morocco, Tunisia and Algiers). Returned to Edinburgh in 1929 and married Ruth Morwood 1932 with whom he later made a home in North Africa above Tetuan.
He became art master at Loretto School, Edinburgh and later at Trinity College, Glenalmond. His only one man exhibition was in Edinburgh in 1984. With the exception of one or two scenes in Finland and the Highlands, almost all his 49 exhibits at the RSA were of North African and Spanish people and scenery.
He did not show at the RSA after 1952, restricting his work to the RSW, of which he was elected a member in 1956, and Glasgow Institute of Fine Arts