Liss Llewellyn Fine Art - 20th Century British Art

Winifred Knights (1899-1947)   BIOGRAPHY

Edge of Abruzzi....boat with three people on a lake, 1924-30
Framed (ref: 927)

Signed on the reserved with initials and dated 1930
26 3/16 x 26 3/16 in. (66.5 x 66.5 cm.)


Provenance: French Gallery 1931; Stephen Courtauld, 1931; 

thence by descent until 2007; Private Collection

Piediluco, (literally foot of a sacred grove) is a small Umbrian town between Terni and Rieti. The Lake of Piediluco, seventeen kilometres in circumference, is surrounded by wooded hills; tall birches and firs, with occasional vineyards. From July to September 1924, for their honeymoon, Monnington and Knights rented the top floor of a villa overlooking the lake; the landscape around Piediluco proved a huge inspiration for both of them: Our Loggia overhanging the lake is fine to work in. Its over 40 ft long and 15 ft wide and we line in it as well as work. We cross by bridge to our bedroom which is in the main house and as large as a palace bedroom with a vaulted and painted ceiling covered all over with pictures of the lake and flying cherubs... I do my big picture all day in the loggia and go out sketching in the evening when it is cooler or rather less sunny. Tom is out all day because he is doing backgrounds for his big picture. (Letter from Knights to her aunt, LIV 11.August 1924). The "big picture" to which Knights refers was Monningtons iconic Allegory, (Tate collection); Knights used the same landscape as the setting for her epic Santissima Trinita, (private collection, Canada). A panel of Lake Piediluco was presented by Monnington as his Diploma Work on his election to the Royal Academy.

Winifred Knights (1899-1947)

Painter and draughtsman, born in London, married to the artist Walter Thomas Monnington. She studied at the Slade School of Fine Art, 1915-17 and 1918-20. Her teachers included Henry Tonks and Fred Brown and she personified the Slade School tradition under their reign. In 1919 she won the Slade Summer Composition Prize (for Mill Hands on Strike) and the following year the coveted Rome Scholarship. She remained in Rome 1920-25, marrying fellow Rome Scholar Thomas Monnington in April 1924. One of her principal works was The Marriage at Cana for the British School at Rome, now in the National Gallery of New Zealand in Wellington. The Tate Gallery also holds her work, including her iconic winning entry for the Rome Scholarship, The Deluge, 1919. Knights died in London at the age of 48.

Had Knights produced more during her relatively short life she might well today be considered among the major women painters of the twentieth century.

Selected literature: Paul Liss, Winifred Knights, The British School at Rome/Fine Art Society plc, 1995

See all works by Winifred Knights