Basin in a Dressing Room

Coloured pencil on buff paper
35 x 25 cm
Signed ‘Laura Knight’ lower left
Exhibited: London, Leicester Galleries, Exhibition of Works by Mrs Laura Knight ARA, March 1928
The subject of this painting is Gwen Ffrangcon-Davies in Jackson’s Romeo & Juliet, 1924

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Dame Laura Knight was born on the 4th of August 1877 in Long Eaton, Derbyshire. She worked primarily in oils, watercolors and engravings. Increasingly interested in the stage, Laura painted scenes of the theatre, ballet and circus life. Between the wars her pictures of the Big Top established her fame and reputation. Elected as an official war artist during the Second World War, her early commissions were dictated by the convention that women artists should record women’s subjects. In 1929, she was made a Dame of the British Empire and in 1931 she received an honorary degree from St Andrews University. In the following year, Knight was elected president of the Society of Women Artists, a position that was held until 1967. In 1936, Knight was elected a full member of the Royal Academy all whilst publishing her first autobiography, Oil Paint and Grease Paint, that same year. Following the death of her husband Harold Knight in 1961, Knight published her second autobiography, The Magic of a Line, to coincide with a retrospective exhibition consisting of 250 pieces of work at the Royal Academy –the first of its kind for a woman. Knight continued to exhibit right up until her death on the 7th of July 1970 in London.