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Knights, Winifred

(1899 – 1947)

Study for St Martin's Altarpiece, Canterbury Cathedral, circa 1932

SKU: 7582
Squared, inscribed with notes
Pencil on tracing paper
5 1/2 x 13 3/8 in. (14 x 34 cm)
Size:
Height: 14cm
Width: 34cm

DETAILS

Provenance:
The Artist’s Family
Presentation:
framed

DESCRIPTION

Literature: Winifred Knights, exh. cat.,The Fine Art Society, London, 1995, pp. 56–7 (similar work repr. p. 43)

In 1928, Knights received a prestigious commission to paint a reredos for the Milner Memorial Chapel in Canterbury Cathedral, which the architect Sir Herbert Baker was designing. The painting took several years to complete, and it was difficult for Knights to maintain the clarity of her original conception, presented in numerous preparatory studies, while respecting the preconceptions of the architect. 
Taking inspiration from Sulpicius Severus’ fourth-century Vita Martini, Knights records three scenes from the life of St. Martin of Tours: St Martin gives half his cloak to a beggar; St Martin restores a child to life; St. Martin’s vision of Christ. 
The central scene, St. Martin restores a child to life, clearly held a deep significance for Knights, who had recently given birth to a stillborn son. Knights includes herself among the onlookers as well as members of her family, including her mother Mabel and Thomas Monnington; her sister Eileen and nephew Martin provided the model for the mother and child.  It is likely that the elder St. Martin, wearing a bishop’s cloak, is a portrait of the architect Sir Herbert Baker. 
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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THE ARTIST

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
Paradise,1921
£18,750.00
Winifred Knights
Compositional study for The Flight into Egypt, circa 1938
£17,500.00
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Winifred Knights
Landscape with Fence, c. 1920
Winifred Knights
Study for the Marriage at Cana with a self portrait, circa 1923
£8,000.00
Winifred Knights
Portrait of Colin Gill, c.1921
£10,000.00
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Winifred Knights
Owl, circa 1922
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Winifred Knights
Study for Blue Bells, circa 1937
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Winifred Knights
Study for the Marriage at Cana, seated nude, three quarter frontal view, circa 1924
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Winifred Knights
Illustration to Algernon Blackwood’s The Centaur, 1915
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Winifred Knights
Self Portrait, circa 1916
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Winifred Knights
Self Portrait inspired by a fashion plate, circa 1914
Forthcoming
Winifred Knights
Study of Ophrys Bertolonii, commonly known as Bertoloni’s Bee Orchid, circa 1925
Winifred Knights
Portrait Study of Colin Gill, c.1921
£7,500.00
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Winifred Knights
Study for St Martin’s Altarpiece, Canterbury Cathedral, circa 1932
Private
Collection
Winifred Knights
Self Portrait as Little Miss Muffet, June 1918
Winifred Knights
Study of a Seated Woman for The Santissima Trinita
£3,000.00
Private
Collection
Winifred Knights
Self-portrait, 1920
Forthcoming
Winifred Knights
Cartoon for Scenes from the Life of Saint Martin of Tours
Private
Collection
Winifred Knights
A View to the East from the British School at Rome
Private
Collection
Winifred Knights
Compositional study for Pompilia
Private
Collection
Winifred Knights
Study of the exterior of a house by Lake Piediluco
Private
Collection
Winifred Knights
Self-portrait
Private
Collection
Winifred Knights
Early compositional study for The Deluge
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Winifred Knights
Self-portrait sketching at a table
Private
Collection
Winifred Knights
The Potato Harvest
Private
Collection
Winifred Knights
Study for Jairus’ Daughter
Private
Collection
Winifred Knights
Mabel Knights seated in a hayfield
Private
Collection
Winifred Knights
Leaving the Munitions Works, 1919
Winifred Knights
Study of Lineholt Farmhouse Facade, c. 1932
£7,000.00
Forthcoming
Winifred Knights
Figure study, St Martin’s altarpiece, circa 1928
Winifred Knights
Study for St Martin altarpiece, angel from the waist down
£3,000.00
Sold
Winifred Knights
Landscape study for Santisima Trinita, circa 1924
Forthcoming
Winifred Knights
Italian Landscape, circa 1924
Private
Collection
Winifred Knights
Study for the Marriage at Cana, circa 1923
Private
Collection
Winifred Knights
Edge of Abruzzi; Boat with three people on a lake, 1924-30
Winifred Knights
Study for Scenes from the Life of St Martin of Tours, circa 1929
£15,000.00
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Winifred Knights
Figure Study, Scenes from the Life of St Martin of Tours, circa 1929
Private
Collection
Winifred Knights
Design for Wall Decoration, c.1918
Private
Collection
Winifred Knights
The original cartoon for The Deluge, 1920
Winifred Knights
Landscape study for Santissima Trinita, circa 1924
£18,500.00

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