Laura KNIGHT 1877 - 1970
Encouraged to paint by her artistic mother, Laura Knight was enrolled at the Nottingham School of Art aged thirteen. After later studying the Dutch Masters in Holland with her husband, she moved to Cornwall and moved in the circles of the artists' colony present there. It was here that her work most speedily developed, where her style became softer as she began to paint more outside. Her speciality lay in figures situated in landscapes, and she often turned to watercolour to treat delicate subjects, such as children.
Around the war period, she and her husband moved to London, where Knight introduced more subjects to her repertoire, primarily ballet, theatre, circus and rural scenes. In the early 1920s Knight also experimented with other artistic techniques, such as printmaking.
The two examples of Knight's portraiture here display her bright and vivacious style quite clearly, while Knight's personal connection to the sitters is quite evident. The sitters are relaxed in her presence, casually encountering the artist whether it be in the open air of a gypsy camp or the private space of a dressing room.
In 1929, she was made a Dame for her services to art, and in 1936 became the first woman to be elected to the Royal Academy.