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Winifred Knights (1899 - 1947)

Study for the Marriage at Cana, seated nude, three quarter frontal view, circa 1924

SKU: 9340
Pencil
16 1/2 x 10 1/2 in. (42 x 26.7 cm)

Size:
Height – 42cm
Width – 26.7cm

DESCRIPTION

Provenance:
The Artists Family
Presentation:
folio

Literature; 



“ My picture will be very beautiful. I have drawn 11 plates of melon, pink melon, 9 glasses of wine some empty, partly because they have run out, and 38 people”. (Letter from Knights to her mother, 24 August 1922)
Knights sets the Biblical Narrative in the Villa Borghese Gardens, situated below the British School at Rome. Her interpretation of the story in the manner of a realistic feast was inspired by the lunches and dinners hosted at the British School. Choosing to depict a moment in the feast when the wine is running low, Knights provides the guests with slices of watermelon, reflecting the local culinary tradition of serving fruit after the desert course.  Knights appears among the guests, seated at each of the three tables. She has also included Arnold Mason and three fellow Rome Scholars, Alfred Hardiman, Lilian Whitehead and Thomas Monnington (her future husband). 


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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.

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