An early painting by Sir Alfred Munnings will go on sale in an auction for the first time on 17 March.

The painting — The Start, Newmarket — leads the Bonhams New Bond Street’s sale of 20th century British art with an estimated price tag of between £500,000 and £700,000.

Munnings found fame through his paintings of racehorse and The Start is thought to have been completed in the mid 1930s.

The painting depicts a group of horses jockeying for position at the start of a race.

Munnings studied equine anatomy extensively in Stubbs’ Anatomy of the Horse. He believed the start of a race embodied the power of the thoroughbred racer and the suspense involved in racing.

The work is a smaller version of October Meeting, Newmarket, destroyed during the Blitz in World War Two, which Munnings also illustrated in his book, Pictures of Horses and English Life.

Bonhams, one of the world’s largest and oldest auctioneers of fine art, acquired the painting from the family of the original owner, prominent English racehorse owner and breeder JV Rank, whose wife purchased the painting from the Leicester Galleries in 1938.

Other highlights of the sale include newly discovered work by David Bomberg, a collection of paintings by John Craxton and four bronzes by Dame Elisabeth Frink.

To place a bid at the auction, pre-register at www.bonhams.com