Winifred Knights (1899 - 1947)

Colour Study for Foreground Figure of Woman Combing her Hair, Santissima Trinita, mid 1920’s

SKU: 9586

Thinned oil over pencil on tracing paper on panel


Height – 14cm x Width – 16cm


The Artist’s Son; Private collection.

Sacha Llewellyn Winifred Knights 1899-1947 (London: Lund Humphries in association with Dulwich Picture Gallery, 2016)
Winifred Knights 1899-1947 (exh. Catalogue The Fine Art Society PLC and Liss Fine Art in Association with the British School at Rome 1995, p. 55)

Llewellyn, Sacha, et al. Women Only Works on Paper. Liss Llewellyn, 2021, p. 17.

Writing to her mother about Paradise from the artist’s colony of Anticoli Corrado (in the Latium) in 1921,
Knights stated, I haven’t thought about the figures properly, but I have all the landscape and all the colour . . .’
adding that she worked in the evenings partly because it is an evening effect, partly because it is too hot to
struggle up the hill to it in the day’.

Knights’ letters indicate that as the painting evolved it underwent several changes ‚Äì I keep on at my
composition, rubbing out, rubbing it out. I will get it right soon. It’s changed to the Annunciation now’. A few
months later Knights wrote: I have got another subject now, Abigail, same background’.

Paradise is untraced and may never have been completed. The planned size, which was identical to Knights’
Rome Scholarship winning entry, The Deluge, suggests that Knights intended to submit the painting to the
Rome School Faculty as her major first-year work.

The theme of Paradise is close in spirit to Knights’ Rome School chef-d’oeuvre, The Santissima Trinita (1924-
30), which depicts women resting in a field during a pilgrimage to the sanctuary at Vallepietra in the Lazio.
This study of a woman combing her hair was drawn and worked up in colour on tracing paper so that it
could be transferred to the final canvas. Thinned oil was used by Knights as an alternative to gouache and
allowed her to anticipate colour combinations as they would appear in the final painting.

Santissima Trinita, 1924-30; Private Collection

Modern British Art Gallery are continually seeking to improve the quality of the information on their website. We actively undertake to post new and more accurate information on our stable of artists.

We openly acknowledge the use of information from other sites including Wikipedia, and and other public domains. We are grateful for the use of this information and we openly invite any comments on how to improve the accuracy of what we have posted.


Winifred Knights
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 (1899 - 1947)
Landscape, Piediluco, Italy, 1924


Winifred Knights (1899 - 1947)
Study of foliage on the banks of a stream for The Flight into Egypt, c.1938


Winifred Knights (1899 - 1947)
Portrait Study of Colin Gill, c.1921


Winifred Knights (1899 - 1947)
The Artist in a Dress of her own Design


Winifred Knights (1899 - 1947)
Sheet of Studies of Snowdrops, circa 1922


Winifred Knights (1899 - 1947)
Study for The Flight into Egypt, circa 1933-39


Winifred Knights (1899 - 1947)
The Front Door of Line Holt Farm House, late 1920’s


Winifred Knights (1899 - 1947)
Study of Lineholt Farmhouse Facade, c. 1932


Winifred Knights (1899 - 1947)
Study of Front Door, Lineholt Farmhouse Door, c. 1932


Winifred Knights (1899 - 1947)
Portrait study, circa 1919


Winifred Knights (1899 - 1947)
Sheet of Figure Studies, with Self-portrait, circa 1922


Winifred Knights (1899 - 1947)
Study for St Martin altarpiece, angel from the waist down


Winifred Knights (1899 - 1947)
Study of a Walnut tree for Scenes from the Life of Saint Martin of Tours, circa 1930


Winifred Knights (1899 - 1947)
Italian Landscape, circa 1924