Liss Llewellyn Fine Art - 20th Century British Art

Winifred Knights (1899-1947)   BIOGRAPHY

Trees in the Borghese Gardens
Framed (ref: 1648)
In a reeded mahogony frame, pencil, 4 x 6 1/4 in. (10 x 16 cm.)


The Borghese Gardens, situated by The British School at Rome, provided Knights with a setting for many of her Rome School compositions, for instance The Marriage at Cana.  The gardens also provided an area where Knight's could avoid the noise of the city.  In her first letter home from Rome she wrote:

I canít tell you how lovely Rome is Mother. The gardens are so beautiful and all the plants and trees are different. The school is a beautiful building also. And it is so comforting to come back to English people after all the shrieking foreigners they are a noisy lot. (5th November 1920)

Winifred Knights (1899-1947)

Painter and draughtsman, born in London, married to the artist Walter Thomas Monnington. She studied at the Slade School of Fine Art, 1915-17 and 1918-20. Her teachers included Henry Tonks and Fred Brown and she personified the Slade School tradition under their reign. In 1919 she won the Slade Summer Composition Prize (for Mill Hands on Strike) and the following year the coveted Rome Scholarship. She remained in Rome 1920-25, marrying fellow Rome Scholar Thomas Monnington in April 1924. One of her principal works was The Marriage at Cana for the British School at Rome, now in the National Gallery of New Zealand in Wellington. The Tate Gallery also holds her work, including her iconic winning entry for the Rome Scholarship, The Deluge, 1919. Knights died in London at the age of 48.

Had Knights produced more during her relatively short life she might well today be considered among the major women painters of the twentieth century.

Selected literature: Paul Liss, Winifred Knights, The British School at Rome/Fine Art Society plc, 1995

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