Literature: Llewellyn, Sacha, Winifred Knights, Lund Humphries 2016
Exhibited: Dulwich Picture Gallery, 2016
This is a portrait of Arnold Mason, who was at the time engaged to Winifred Knights. It is thought to be a study for The Deluge, and Mason appears in the final work in complete profile, on the left-hand side of the composition.
In 1920, Winifred Knights won the Rome Scholarship in Decorative Painting, considered at the time to be the highest distinction of its kind in the Empire’. Her winning entry, The Deluge, was exhibited at the Royal Academy in February 1921 to wide-spread critical acclaim, and Winifred Knights, the first woman to win the scholarship and nine years younger than the three other finalists, was declared to be a genius’.
The Scholarship rules dictated that the painting was produced in oil or tempera, together with an accompanying cartoon, both of which were to be executed in eight weeks. Winifred Knights commenced work on July 5th, 1920, and despite losing time due to a bout of tonsillitis, she was judged the unanimous winner.