Dame Laura Knight (1877-1970)
“Success doesn’t come to you, you have to go to it!”
Laura Knight did not have an easy start in life. Her father died when she was very young. She learned to draw and paint from her mother, who taught art and gave extra tuition to help raise money for her family.
When Laura was 13, Laura joined the Nottingham School of Art and was probably the youngest pupil to have ever enrolled. Her early ambition was to have one of her paintings displayed at the Royal Academy. Only four years later, at the age of 17, her mother died from cancer. Laura was then alone until she met and married her husband, a fellow student of the Nottingham School of Art, Harold, in 1903.
Laura achieved her ambition in 1903 when she had her first painting hung at the Royal Academy. This did not stop her from wanting to achieve even more with her artwork. On moving to London, Laura’s art became increasingly absorbed with new subject matters, including the ballet, theatre, country scenes and the circus. These experiences helped to give her new skills in the speed in which she could produce accurate drawings.
Laura Knight lived through two World Wars. During World War II, Laura was given many commissions as a war artist. Her fame then continued after WWII. She was then commissioned for the Nuremberg Trials in 1946, being elected to serve on the Royal Academy Hanging Committee 1946 and a further commission for the Coronation 1952. Laura was still painting regularly until her last days when she was aged 93, despite the number of her works declining following the death of her husband in 1961.
Laura started her life in poverty but always Aimed High. She became financially successful and travelled widely in the UK, Europe and America. She managed to achieve worldwide acclaim for simply following her dream. Furthermore, all this was achieved in an era when women were still fighting to vote and where women were not generally accepted in some masculine quarters.
As members of Knight House, our aim is one of hard work, dedication and Aiming High!