Laura Knight by Alex Purves

Alex Purves made another visit to Pateley Bridge Art Club. This time to talk about, and illustrate the work of Dame Laura Knight and her fellow artists. Laura Knight (1877 to 1970) was a successful, popular English artist with a long career in painting, engraving etc.

Alex described her progress from Nottingham School of Art, where she met her future husband Harold Knight, who also became a successful painter.

She painted the people of Staithes, particularly women and portraits of local children.

They moved to Newlyn in Cornwall where they thrived in the company of fellow artists. She achieved success with her plein-air realistic paintings of women and of children, some were accepted at the Royal Academy.

She also painted in an impressionist style in thick paint.

Alex also illustrated the works of Alfred Munnings, Walter Sickert, Roger Fry and Harold Gilman.

Laura Knight became interested in ballet, theatre and circus, which she followed as official artist.

One ground breaking work was a self portrait of herself painting a nude. This was a reaction to early restrictions she had faced in the world of art. It was an important picture for her and has been acclaimed as a significant work.

She worked as a war artist in both world wars, sometimes showing war work by women.

A key work post war painting was of the Nuremberg trial scene, showing destruction in the background.

Laura Knight painted many fine portraits.

These are a small selection of the painting and photographs that Alex showed us.

We were also treated to a display of paintings and sketches owned by a guest, some not yet authenticated.


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