Winifred Knights 1899-1947: Lost Artist of the Slade School
Winifred Knights (1899-1947) is one of the outstanding, but until recently neglected, British women painters of the first half of the 20th century. Copiously illustrated in colour throughout, this book provides the first full account of her life and work, examining Knights' art in the context of interwar Modernism and assessing her contribution to the revival in this period of both Decorative Painting and religious imagery.
Author Sacha Llewellyn traces the artist's career from her years at the Slade School of Art and her First World War evacuation to rural Worcestershire through to the time she spent at the British School at Rome in the early 1920s and the many commissions she completed between 1926 and 1939. Presenting the artist as the central protagonist, and with models selected from her inner circle, Knights' paintings were deeply autobiographical. She consistently re-wrote fairy-tale and legend, Biblical narrative and Pagan mythology to explore women's relationship to war, the natural world, working communities, marriage, motherhood and death.
Drawing on previously unpublished documentary material, including letters, diaries, sketchbooks and photographs, Sacha Llewellyn makes a strong case for recognising Knights as one of the most talented artists of her generation. The book reproduces all of Knights' major works, including her masterpiece, The Deluge, which is among the most remarked upon works at Tate Britain, having been on almost permanent display there since 1995.
Sacha Llewellyn is a researcher and curator and Director of Liss Llewellyn Fine Art with a particular interest in the Rome Scholars, 1913-30, the Art of the First World War and interwar British modernism. She co-curated an exhibition on Alan Sorrell for the Sir John Soane's Museum in 2013, and is guest curator of the Winifred Knights survey show at the Dulwich Picture Gallery (2016). Her previous publications include essays on Colin Gill and Knights' The Deluge in British Murals and Decorative Painting, 1920-60 (Sansom and Company, 2013).
Director's Foreword; Introduction: Winifred Knights 1899-1947: In Search of Paradise; Chapter 1: The Early Years 1899-1915: 'Our happy circle'; Chapter 2: The Slade School of Art (Part 1) 1915-1917: 'The most virtuous and hardworking female'; Chapter 3: Worcestershire 1917-1918: 'The quietude and strength of nature at hand'; Chapter 4: The Slade School of Art (Part 2), October 1918 - September 1919: 'The eye to see, the mind to retain, and the hand to express'; Chapter 5: The Slade (Part 3): Decorative Painting: 'Form with colour and pattern as accessories'; Chapter 6: The Rome Scholarship in Decorative Painting, 1920: 'Battling in dark floods without an Ark'; Chapter 7: Italy (Part 1), 1920-21: 'The Wonderful Wedding Cake, also known as the Tomb, also known as the British School at Rome'; Chapter 8: Italy (Part 2), 1921-1923: 'Quietly absorbing a great deal of knowledge'; Chapter 9 Italy (Part 3), 1924-1925: 'At the Foot of a Sacred Grove'; Chapter 10: England 1926-1933: 'The power to convey visions and ideals'; Postscript: England 1934-1947: 'She had been created to sing that song and then vanish away'; Bibliography; Acknowledgements; Index.