Laura Knight – in her homeland she is considered the best British artist and a legendary personality. She lived a long life, reflected in painting all the eras experienced and paved the way for many girls into art. Talking about it, you have to repeatedly use the word “first”. This is the first woman admitted to the Royal Academy of Britain.
Young years of the artist
Laura was born in 1877 and grew up in a difficult environment. The father left his wife with three daughters, and it was extremely difficult for a mother of noble birth, unaccustomed to work, to provide for herself and her children at least with the most necessary things. Fortunately, before marriage, she studied drawing and even dreamed of becoming an artist, so she was able to give lessons.
Laura’s mother managed to get a job at the Nottingham School of Art and made sure that her 13-year-old daughter was accepted there as an apprentice. Laura Johnson became the youngest student of this institution. She helped the professors, but at every opportunity she attended the classes of ordinary students.
Gradually, the apprentice girl became a successful student and received a scholarship from the Princess of Wales. At school, she met a young artist, her future husband. Harold Knight, himself a talented painter, always supported his more famous wife and created all the conditions for her creativity. She called him a faithful knight and lived a long happy life with him.
The creative path of Laura Knight
The first serious picture of the artist “Mother and Child No. 1”. After the wedding, the painter couple moved to the fishing village of Newlyn and spent ten years there. Laura Knight’s Newlyn landscapes, close to the genre of impressionism, are now especially highly valued: they are flooded with sun and filled with a sense of the joy of life.
After the First World War, the Knights moved to London, and from that moment began the next period in the work of Laura. Her attention was attracted by the world of ballet, theater and circus. She draws famous artists, clowns and ballerinas, including those from Sergei Diaghilev’s Ballets Russes. Portraits of Anna Pavlova, Tamara Karsavina and other Russian dancers have been preserved.
In the 20s and 30s, Laura Knight came to international fame. She improves her technique, tries new tricks and methods. Gradually, they started talking about it in the USA. In 1922, she was invited to be the European jury member at an international exhibition. In 1929, for her contribution to the development of British culture, Laura became a Dame and received the Order of the British Empire.
With age, Laura Knight painted less and less, but she remained famous to the end and never parted with her brush for a long time. In 1952, she was honored to depict the coronation of Elizabeth II, and completed the last picture a few days before her death at the age of 92. In total, more than 250 of her paintings and drawings are known, and the artist also wrote two autobiographies.