Dame Laura Knight’s Corn­wall

Lamorna Cove, Corn­wall

Countryfile Magazine - - Contents -

One fa­mous of Bri­tain’s and pro­lific most artists, Dame Laura Knight was born in 1877 in Der­byshire. At the ten­der age of 13 she won a schol­ar­ship to Not­ting­ham School of Art, where she met fel­low stu­dent Harold Knight. In 1903 they mar­ried and, four years later, moved to New­lyn in Corn­wall.

Laura be­gan to de­velop her own re­al­ist style, paint­ing daily along­side some of the finest painters of the time, in­clud­ing Al­fred Mun­nings, Stan­hope Forbes and Lamorna Birch. Lamorna Cove was the last ma­jor land­scape that Laura painted be­fore she left Corn­wall in 1919. “Fond mem­ory tells of the beauty of line and colour seen daily dur­ing the warmer months from my paint­ing hut on the Cor­nish coast,” she said.

Laura loved to paint cir­cus per­form­ers, gyp­sies and dancers, too. She was the only woman to re­ceive war commissions and, at the age of 70, painted her fa­mous ac­count of the Nurem­berg war tri­als. She be­came Dame Laura Knight in 1929 and was elected a full mem­ber of the Royal Academy, the first woman to re­ceive this hon­our. Her work fea­tured at the Royal Academy for 67 years and she ex­hib­ited world­wide un­til her death in 1970, aged 92.


A five-mile walk fol­lows the South West Coast Path from the fish­ing har­bour of Mouse­hole to Lamorna Cove. On a sunny day, the scene is just as Knight por­trayed it in her paint­ing – a curved rocky shore, lapped by the glis­ten­ing turquoise sea.

Where to see the art: The Na­tional Por­trait Gallery, Lon­don un­til 13 Oc­to­ber 2018. Her work can also be seen at Pen­lee Gallery, Pen­zance.

Sue Kit­tow is the au­thor of the Walks in the Foot­steps of Cor­nish Writ­ers se­ries.

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