Winifred Knights (1899-1947):
Edge of Abruzzi; Boat with three people on a lake, 1924-30
Framed (ref: 927)
Signed on the reserved with initials and dated 1930
Oil on canvas
26 3/16 x 26 3/16 in. (66.5 x 66.5 cm)
Provenance: French Gallery; Stephen Courtauld; Private Collection
I had seen reproductions of Edge of Abruzzi; Boat with three people on a lake many times and had even visited Piediluco, the small town near Rome from where my mother drew her inspiration for this picture. But I only got to see the original artwork in 2016 when it formed part of the Winifred Knights exhibition at Dulwich Picture Gallery.
I returned to view it on several occasions, its immense beauty having a very powerful effect on me. Even when surrounded by many, many visitors I always fell under its quiet spell as it revealed yet another intricate detail. I feel sad and joyful at the same time that I have, at last, seen the painting ‘in the flesh’ – sad that I will probably never get to view it again, but happy that I have had the opportunity to study and enjoy this most wonderful work at close hand.
When I was a schoolboy, I was slightly aware of there being something exceptional about my mother, but I was totally ignorant of her true abilities. Now, at the end of my life, I am delighted to have learnt of her tremendous talent and been able to appreciate so much of her work, from childhood sketches through to her major pictures. She had just begun to paint again – after a twelve year hiatus – when she died so tragically young at the age of forty-seven.
Commentary by John Monnington (b.1934), a retired precision engineer. He is the son of Winifred Knights and Sir Walter Thomas Monnington (PRA), and acts as archivist of their works.