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Knights, Winifred

(1899 – 1947)

Study of bluebells for The Flight into Egypt, c.1938

Tempera on tracing paper
5 1/2 x 5 1/2 in. (14 x 14 cm.)

DESCRIPTION

Provenance:
The Artists Family; private collection
In 1937, Knights was commissioned by the Earl of Crawford and Balcarres to produce a large Decorative Painting ( 6 x 10 ft) of the Flight into Egypt for Balcarres Castle. The narrative was set on the banks of a stream covered in bluebells . By the time the Second World War was declared, Knights had partially completed the painting, with the spring flowers and foliage of the riverbank rendered with elaborate and minute detail. As a result of Knights’ sudden death in 1947, the painting was never realised. 

When the artist Sir D. Y. Cameron saw these drawings, he admired their intensity of observation: The artist of today might laugh at my love and admiration of her work, so far removed from the spirit of our times’, he wrote. But it is timeless and of another world’.
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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

Compositional study for The Flight into Egypt, circa 1938
£17,500.00
Study for the Marriage at Cana with a self portrait, circa 1923
£8,000.00
Study for St Martin altarpiece, angel from the waist down
£3,000.00
Study for Scenes from the Life of St Martin of Tours, circa 1929
£15,000.00