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Knights, Winifred

(1899 – 1947)

Self Portrait inspired by a fashion plate, circa 1914

Pencil and watercolour

9 3/4 x 7 1/4 in. (24.7 x 18.4 cm)

DESCRIPTION

Provenance:
Private collection.

Literature: Llewellyn, Sacha, Winifred Knights, Lund Humphries, 2014, ill. p 19, fig 12


Before starting her training at the Slade Knights frequently copied fashion plates, projecting her own persona onto the the latest modes of dress.  As a Slade student, Knights cultivated a dress style based on purity and simplicity, in hand-spun and hand-woven cloth, combining elements drawn from Renaissance painting and ‚Äúaesthetic dress‚Äù to create a compelling statement of feminine artistic identity. In Italy, she adopted a version of Italian peasant costume, subsequently retained all her life, consisting of ankle-length skirts of plain or checked cloth, coral necklaces and a broad-brimmed hat or headscarf. 
 
Admired for her striking looks, Knights was portrayed by numerous painters and sculptors during her lifetime, including David Evans, Colin Gill, Alfred Hardiman, Arnold Mason, Ambrose McEvoy, Thomas Monnington and Mary Potter. In the major paintings produced by Gill and Monnington during their Scholarships at the British School at Rome, Knights is the principle figure and main source of inspiration.  the Leonardo da Vinci-inspired hairstyle that became an essential characteristic of her artistic identity. 
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THE ARTIST

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.

MORE PICTURES BY ARTIST

Winifred Knights
Compositional study for The Flight into Egypt, circa 1938
£17,500.00
Winifred Knights
Study for the Marriage at Cana with a self portrait, circa 1923
£8,000.00
Winifred Knights
Portrait of Colin Gill, c.1921
£10,000.00
Winifred Knights
Portrait Study of Colin Gill, c.1921
£7,500.00
Winifred Knights
Study of a Seated Woman for The Santissima Trinita
£3,000.00
Winifred Knights
Study of Lineholt Farmhouse Facade, c. 1932
£7,000.00
Winifred Knights
Study for St Martin altarpiece, angel from the waist down
£3,000.00
Winifred Knights
Study for Scenes from the Life of St Martin of Tours, circa 1929
£15,000.00
Winifred Knights
Landscape study for Santissima Trinita, circa 1924
£18,500.00