Knights, Winifred

(1899 – 1947)

Cartoon for Scenes from the Life of Saint Martin of Tours

SKU: 7557

Pencil on paper
30 x 74 in. (76×188 cm)

Height: 76cm
Width: 188cm


The Artist’s Estate; Private Collection since 1995

Literature: G.K.A. Bell,The Church and the Artist, The Studio, September 1942, vol. 124,

no. 594, p. 81

In a gilded flat section frame, with square outer moulding, glazed

Knights was commissioned to paint the Milner Memorial altarpiece for Canterbury Cathedral in 1928; she finished it some five years later in  1933. It was to be the last major work completed by Knights.

Bishop Bell, who was involved with commissions for religious works from numerous artists (including Vanessa Bell, Duncan Grant, Augustus Lunn and Hans Feibusch), described the St Martin Altarpiece as
one of the most lovely, delicate and deeply felt modern religious paintings that I know. (G.K.A. Bell,The Church and the Artist, The Studio, September 1942, vol. 124, no. 594, p. 81).

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Knights, Winifred

1899 – 1947

Winifred Knights was born in Streatham, London in 1899. She studied at the Slade School of Fine Art (1915’17, 1918’20 and 1926’27) . In 1919 she jointly won the Slade Summer Composition Competition with A Scene in a Village Street with Mill-Hands Conversing. In 1920, she became the first woman to win the Scholarship in Decorative Painting awarded by the British School at Rome. She remained in Italy until December 1925, marrying fellow Rome Scholar Thomas Monnington (1902’1976) in April 1924. On her return to England, Knights received a commission to paint an altarpiece for the Milner Memorial Chapel in Canterbury. A major commission for the Earl of Crawford and Balcarres, on which she had been working for five years, remained unconcluded at her early death, aged 47.
Throughout her life, Winifred Knights produced work through which she explored women’s autonomy. Presenting herself as the central protagonist, and selecting models from her inner circle, she rewrote and reinterpreted fairy tale and legend, biblical narrative and pagan mythology. She was the subject of a retrospective exhibition at Dulwich Picture Gallery in 2016.


Winifred Knights
Compositional study for The Flight into Egypt, circa 1938
Winifred Knights
Study for the Marriage at Cana with a self portrait, circa 1923
Winifred Knights
Portrait of Colin Gill, c.1921
Winifred Knights
Portrait Study of Colin Gill, c.1921
Winifred Knights
Study of a Seated Woman for The Santissima Trinita
Winifred Knights
Study of Lineholt Farmhouse Facade, c. 1932
Winifred Knights
Study for St Martin altarpiece, angel from the waist down
Winifred Knights
Study for Scenes from the Life of St Martin of Tours, circa 1929
Winifred Knights
Landscape study for Santissima Trinita, circa 1924