Dame Laura Knight, 1877-1970, had an artistic career spanning eight decades. This catalogue, published alongside a 2012 exhibition, focuses on watercolour and oil paintings, drawings and etchings of scenes of the countryside and farmland, sea coasts and inlets from throughout this long career. It focusses in particular on the periods that she and her husband, Harold, (the first married couple to both be elected as Royal Academicians) spent at artists' colonies in Staithes, Laren (in The Netherlands)and Cornwall, and in London and Malvern.
Elizabeth Knowles illustrates the ways in which the styles and subjects of the Knights' pictures changed over the years with profuse coloured illustrations and black and white photographs. It is a pity that the pictures included in the exhibition were not numbered as this would help to relate them to comments in the text. Some of the pictures used to show her influences are also very small.
However, these do not really limit a very useful introduction to Laura Knight's open air paintings which, in addition to pictures of the countryside, cliffs and seascapes include horses, gypsies, circus, fairs, a boxing match and even the Nuremberg War Trial. This is a well-presented book on one aspect of Laura Knight's oeuvre and is recommended to anyone interested in 20th century British painting.
For those seeking a wider perspective, there is a retrospective exhibition of Laura Knight's work planned for 2015 at the Dulwich Art Gallery.