Dame Laura Knight (1877-1970)

Knight was an English artist who worked in oils, watercolours and various printing methods. Knight was a painter in the figurative, realist tradition, who embraced English impressionism. In her long career, Knight was among the most successful and popular painters in Britain. Her success in the male-dominated British art establishment paved the way for greater status and recognition for women artists.

She was made a Dame in 1929 and in 1936 she was the second ever female artist to be made a full member of the RA. Her major retrospective there in 1965 was the first ever for a woman. She was well known for painting and drawing within the theatre and ballet world.

Dame Laura Knight (1877-1970), Leighton ‘Luckie’ Lucas, 1920


Signed, dated and inscribed ‘To my dear Mr Lucas from/Laura Knight/July 1920’
14 ¼ x 9 ½ in (36.2 x 24.5 cm)

Leighton Lucas (1903-1982) was a ballet conductor and celebrated composer best known for scores for films such as Ice Cold in Alex and The Dambusters. At the time of this drawing he was a dancer in Sergei Diaghilev’s Ballet Russes performing at The Coliseum. Laura Knight received permission from Diaghilev to sketch back-stage and in 1920 published a book of Ballet drawings.

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