Laura Knight (1877–1970) was an English Realist painter who documented life and culture in Britain during the first half of the twentieth century. She was born in Long Eaton and was taught, and then taught at Nottingham School of Art.
Educated at a time when studying life-drawing was the preserve of male artists, Knight railed against social restrictions of the day and established her own life studio. She was a consummate documentarist and her studies of the ballet as well as her government-commissioned depictions of women’s wartime labour during the First World War are some of the this artist’s most enduring works. She has been exhibited in Nottingham several times.
The first female artist to be elected a full Royal Academician, and with a career that spanned seven decades, Knight was one of the most important artists of her day. Today her work features in public collections across the UK and around the world, including Tate, the National Portrait Gallery and the Imperial War Museums, London.
Alice Strickland is currently Curator in the London and South East region of the National Trust. Her book on Laura Knight is one of a series of inexpensive books on women artists published by a new publisher, Eiderdown Books.
Below are typical pictures by Laura Knight – of Romany women, of ballet dancers, and the seaside