Winifred Knights (1899 - 1947)

Compositional study for The Flight into Egypt, circa 1938


SKU: 10341
Pencil, pen and ink on tracing paper

Height – 48.3cm x Width – 88.9cm

1 in stock


The Artist’s Son; Private collection
Winifred Knights, Dulwich Picture Gallery, London, 8 June – 18 September 2016. Cat nr 171.
Winifred Knights 1899-1947, Sacha Llewellyn, Published in 2016 by Lund Humphries on the occasion of the Exhibition Winifred Knights at the Dulwich Picture Gallery, London, 8 June – 18 September 2016. Overleaf page 176-177, details page 175.

In 1937, Knights was commissioned by the Earl of Crawford and Balcarres to produce a large Decorative Painting ( 6 x 10 ft) of the Flight into Egypt for Balcarres Castle. The narrative was set on the banks of a stream covered in bluebells . By the time the Second World War was declared, Knights had partially completed the painting, with studies of the riverbank and foliage rendered with elaborate and minute detail. As a result of Knights’ sudden death in 1947, the painting was never realised.

When the artist Sir D. Y. Cameron saw these drawings, he admired their intensity of observation: The artist of today might laugh at my love and admiration of her work, so far removed from the spirit of our times’, he wrote. But it is timeless and of another world’.

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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)
Italian Landscape, circa 1924
Winifred Knights (1899 - 1947)
Study for ‘Design for Wall Decoration’ – Three Women Bearing Baskets of Apples, circa 1918