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Art: Dame Laura Knight in Worcester

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Knights to remember

An exhibition dedicated to 20th-century English artist Dame Laura Knight opened last month at Worcester City Art Gallery and Museum.

Words: Dan Hayes

T he museum showcases work of the iconic English artist famous for her landscapes and depictions of World War Two.

Running until 30 June, I Paint Today looks at the work of a woman who was the first female artist admitted to the Royal Academy and whose paintings regularly featured the county of Worcestershire and the nearby Malvern Hills.

From 1933 Knight (1877-1970) and her husband, Harold, were frequent visitors to this part of the Midlands and it became a frequent subject of her paintings. Knight said she produced her best landscapes in Malvern and her paintings of this period demonstrate her love of the English countryside in all seasons.

Throughout the 1920s and 1930s Knight was also known for painting theatrical scenes, keen to show all aspects of performance. The Yellow Dress, which features in the exhibition, shows the costume-making studio at the Royal Shakespeare Company, capturing colour and artistry with thick brush strokes.

At the outbreak of World War Two, Knight enlisted with the War Artists Advisory Committee. She painted many iconic images depicting the British at war, featuring the Home Front, RAF Bomber Command and the Nuremburg trials.

Deborah Fox, Museums Worcestershire senior curator, said: "We are very excited to celebrate the extraordinary life and prolific work of Dame Laura Knight and are particularly pleased to revisit Knight's connection with our beautiful county."

I Paint Today runs from 13 January – 30 June at Worcester City Art Gallery & Museum.

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