Knights, Winifred

(1899 – 1947)

Landscape study for Santissima Trinita, circa 1924


Thinned oil on tracing paper

7 7/8 x 18 5/8 in. (20 x 47.4 cm)

1 in stock


The artist’s studio; Andrew McIntosh Patrick

Rome, The British School at Rome, Winifred Knights 1995 (11b)
Literature: Paul Liss, Winifred Knights, 1995, p. 55; p. 40, reproduced

This landscape is one of a series of studies made during 1924 whilst Knights and Monnington were on their
honeymoon in Piediluco. Monnington used the same setting for his iconic Tate painting Allegory and
Knights for her major painting Santissima Trinita. In an undated manuscript in the archives of the British
School at Rome, Monnington recounts: ‘On her return to England (1926) she completed, after months of
work, a picture for which she had made many studies in Italy. She gave it the title of The Santissima Trinita’. 

Knights made extensive landscape studies during her stay in Italy (see Italian Landscape, 1920, Tate Gallery
NO3683), most frequently of the countryside around Lazio, Umbria and the Abruzzi. She often worked in
triplicate, creating a drawing, then an outline on tracing paper and lastly a colour study.

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Knights, Winifred

1899 – 1947

Winifred Knights was born in Streatham, London in 1899. She studied at the Slade School of Fine Art (1915’17, 1918’20 and 1926’27) . In 1919 she jointly won the Slade Summer Composition Competition with A Scene in a Village Street with Mill-Hands Conversing. In 1920, she became the first woman to win the Scholarship in Decorative Painting awarded by the British School at Rome. She remained in Italy until December 1925, marrying fellow Rome Scholar Thomas Monnington (1902’1976) in April 1924. On her return to England, Knights received a commission to paint an altarpiece for the Milner Memorial Chapel in Canterbury. A major commission for the Earl of Crawford and Balcarres, on which she had been working for five years, remained unconcluded at her early death, aged 47.
Throughout her life, Winifred Knights produced work through which she explored women’s autonomy. Presenting herself as the central protagonist, and selecting models from her inner circle, she rewrote and reinterpreted fairy tale and legend, biblical narrative and pagan mythology. She was the subject of a retrospective exhibition at Dulwich Picture Gallery in 2016.


Compositional study for The Flight into Egypt, circa 1938
Study for the Marriage at Cana with a self portrait, circa 1923
Study for St Martin altarpiece, angel from the waist down
Study for Scenes from the Life of St Martin of Tours, circa 1929