Who Was Dame Laura Knight?
Dame Laura Knight (1877-1970) was an English artist in the figurative, realist tradition who embraced English Impressionism. According to Tate.org
“Influenced by Impressionism and the Newlyn School in Cornwall, Knight’s subject-matter is contemporary without being avant-garde. Dismissed by Modernists for her lack of interest in formal experiment, Knight’s insistent realism made her one of the most popular artists of the time.”
In her long career, Knight was among the most successful and popular painters in Britain. Her success in the male-dominated British art establishment paved the way for greater status and recognition for women artists. In 1936, Knight became the second woman elected to full membership of the Royal Academy.
Dating back to the fourteenth century, a fair was regularly held in Penzance in Cornwall, England. Common sights included merry-go-rounds, acrobats, clowns, peddlars, beer-sellers, and men performing card tricks.
“Travelling fairgrounds, carnivals, circuses and side shows, often operated by gypsies, were, of course, a common feature of English towns and villages at the turn of the twentieth century. Many, such as that at Penzance, had venerable histories.“Sotheby’s
“The Cornish Scarlet”
“Around 1913, Laura Knight purchased a long red hand-knitted “cardigan” at a fair in Penzance. This celebrated garment, known as “The Cornish Scarlet”, was worn by the artist and habitually handed out to models when a vivid color note was required for a composition. It features so prominently in the center of two versions of The Fairground, Penzance that it has been claimed that the figure wearing it is the artist – albeit a younger self.”1Sotheby’s
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- Wikipedia contributors, “Laura Knight,” Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Laura_Knight&oldid=844956249 (accessed July 5, 2018).
- Sotheby’s European Art Auction, Dame Laura Knight, The Fairground, Penzance, accessed online July 4, 2018, http://www.sothebys.com/en/auctions/ecatalogue/2017/european-art-n09940/lot.65.html
- Dame Laura Knight R.A 1877-1970
- THE FAIRGROUND, PENZANCE
- signed Laura Knight (lower right)
- oil on canvas
- 55 by 74 3/4 in.
- 139.7 by 189.9 cm
- Image Source: Sotheby‘s
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