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Laura Knight

(1877-1970), Artist

Dame Laura Knight

Sitter in 34 portraits
Artist associated with 3 portraits
Knight studied at Nottingham School of Art in 1900, and there met Harold Knight. After marrying in 1903, they joined an artists' colony at Staithes, Yorkshire, before moving in 1908 to Newlyn, Cornwall. In 1929 she was created Dame of the British Empire, and in 1936 became the first woman elected to full membership of the Royal Academy. Her subjects included Gypsies, dancers and circus performers. During the war, her popularity and distinguished career made her an obvious choice for the War Artists Advisory Committee, who tasked British artists with recording the war. In 1945 she asked to record the trial of Nazi war criminals in Nuremberg. Her 1965 retrospective at the RA was the first accorded to a woman.

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John Freeman, by Laura Knight - NPG 4040

John Freeman

by Laura Knight
charcoal, published 1928
NPG 4040

Prince Edward, Duke of Windsor (King Edward VIII), designed by Dame Laura Knight, manufactured by  Burgess & Leigh Limited (Burleigh) - NPG D48190

Prince Edward, Duke of Windsor (King Edward VIII)

designed by Dame Laura Knight, manufactured by Burgess & Leigh Limited (Burleigh)
printed and painted earthenware, 1936
NPG D48190

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Tony Copsey

01 May 2018, 15:37

As Laura Johnson, she was born at Long Eaton, Derbyshire on 4 August 1877, the youngest of the three daughters of Charles William Johnson and his wife Charlotte nee Bates (1853-1893), who married at Nottingham in 1872. In 1881, 3 year old Laura was living at 9 Noel Street, Radford, Nottingham, with her 28 year old mother Charlotte, an art teacher, and siblings Elizabeth E. 7, born Nottingham and Evangeline Agnes 5, born Greasley, Nottinghamshire; 9 Noel Street was the home of 67 year old widow Charlotte Bates, the mother of Charlotte Johnson, who was a lace maker, employing 22 people. Charlotte Johnson taught part-time at the Nottingham School of Art, and managed to have 13 year old Laura enrolled as a non-fee paying 'artisan student'. In 1891, Charlotte was a 38 year old widowed art teacher, living at Birkin Avenue, Radford, Nottingham with her 15 year old daughter Evangeline Agnes, a pupil teacher at a Board School. At the age of fifteen, and still a student, Laura Johnson took over her mother's teaching duties when Charlotte became seriously ill. At the School of Art, Laura met another promising students, 17 year old Harold Knight....

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