Knights, Winifred

(1899 – 1947)

Study for 'Design for Wall Decoration' - Three Women Bearing Baskets of Apples, circa 1918


SKU: 84

Inscribed on the reverse: W. M. Knights, 22 Madeira Road, Streatham.

Pencil on paper, squared, 24 5/8 x 18 ins. (62.5 x 45.7 cm.)

Height: 62.5cm
Width: 45.7cm

1 in stock


the artist’s estate

Literature: Paul Liss, Winifred Knights, The Fine Art Society, 1995, no. 2a, pp. 31 and 48; Llewellyn, Sacha, Winifred Knights, Lund Humphries 2016

Exhibited: Winifred Knights, The Fine Art Society, 1995; no. 12 d; London, The Fine Art Society, Winifred Knights, 1995, no. 2a

study is for the earliest of Knights’ decorative paintings: Design for
Wall Decoration, the Slade Sketch Club Special Figure Subject for
January 1918. Knights painted an oil of the Design for Wall Decoration
(see below), but the mural itself is unlikely to have been executed –
other studies indicate that its intended size was to be 5 x 6 ft (the
size of paintings entered for the Scholarship to Rome). The picture is
inspired by the Italian Primitives, as the clarity of form, and the
thoughtful arrangement of the figures in space indicate. The studies for
the composition were probably executed while staying at Lineholt Farm
in Worcestershire, between October 1917 and October 1918.

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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