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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Laura Knight: A Life
Barbara Morden's 'Laura Knight: A Life' is the authorised biography of one of the foremost British painters of the twentieth century and spans the artist's long and productive life from her birth in 1877 until her death in 1970. Laura Knight was the youngest of three children born in Long Eaton, Derbyshire, to mother, Charlotte Bates, and father, Charlie Johnson, a lace...
Published 10 months ago by Susie B

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6 of 10 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Very disappointing
As an admirer of much of Laura Knight's work, I was really looking forward to reading this book. However, it was a very disappointing read. The writing is so pedestrian, and instead if bringing the subject to life, it seems to embalm and obfuscate the painter in page after page of moribund prose. There are too many snide attacks on the previous biography by Janet Dunbar (...
Published 15 months ago by Mcgillivray


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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Laura Knight: A Life, 19 Jun. 2014
By 
Susie B - See all my reviews
(TOP 100 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Laura Knight: A Life (Hardcover)
Barbara Morden's 'Laura Knight: A Life' is the authorised biography of one of the foremost British painters of the twentieth century and spans the artist's long and productive life from her birth in 1877 until her death in 1970. Laura Knight was the youngest of three children born in Long Eaton, Derbyshire, to mother, Charlotte Bates, and father, Charlie Johnson, a lace draper and later pub landlord. Her parents' marriage ended not long after Laura's birth and money was consequently rather tight, as it remained, to varying levels, throughout Laura's formative years. This concern over making ends meet was a something that never entirely left Laura, and this worry contributed towards the artist's work ethic, which was impressive. A concern over finances, and a genuine and justified belief that her work was of worth, often led to Laura's tendency to price her paintings at a higher price than some buyers were willingly prepared to pay, which meant that certain paintings remained unsold. But Laura was right to value her work highly - her technical skills, which she learnt at art school in Nottingham and honed during her years in the artists' colonies of Staithes, in Yorkshire, and Newlyn, in Cornwall, were considerable, and her list of achievements is impressive. Laura Knight was the first woman to be elected as a Royal Academician; she was the first female artist to be made a Dame of the British Empire; she was the only woman to be given War Commissions in the two World Wars; and at the age of 68 she was commissioned as the only British artist to cover the Nuremberg Trials. Laura Knight worked on a wide range of subjects including: landscapes, portraits, ballet, theatre, circus, gypsies, racehorses, seascapes and war art. She used a variety of mediums for her work including: oils, watercolours, etchings, aquatints, linocuts, woodcuts and lithographs.

Barbara Morden's very readable and informal biography reveals the ebullient vitality and girlish enthusiasm that made up the personality of Dame Laura Knight, and the author was keen to portray the artist's abundant appetite for life and for her work. However, although seemingly well-researched, there are the lack of footnotes and sources one would normally expect to see in a more scholarly biography, and I did feel that the author made too many critical references to Laura Knight's previous biographer, Janet Dunbar, which I felt was a little unnecessary. However, all of that said, I found this biography an interesting and enjoyable read and, with its selection of coloured plates printed on glossy paper and a large number of well-reproduced photographs printed on thick cream paper, this is also an attractive and pleasant to handle volume which will stay on one of my bookcases for future reference.

4 Stars.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars 'In the Moment'., 10 Mar. 2014
This review is from: Laura Knight: A Life (Hardcover)
I have finally finished reading Barbara Morden's biography of the artist Laura Knight, and admittedly, I knew very little about Laura Knight before reading this, as I came to it on the strength of Barbara's previous book on John Martin, which I cherish dearly.

As with Apocalypse Now, I was captivated from the start; it took me a long time to complete reading, and not because it was bulky - it was neatly written, and perfectly succinct, but I found that I had discovered an artist that I really had little knowledge of, only briefly recalling a couple of her paintings. I spent as much time researching Laura Knight as I did with the book, which alone shows the power this book had over me.

The tone of the book shows a true affection of this artist, and the knowledge and depth of Laura Knight emits from every page. I will definitely be recommending this.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Book really worth reading, 17 April 2014
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A really good book if you wish to learn more about such an important artist. Better than previous biographies /books written on the artist.
Even just as a book to read, it covers an interesting period of time of someone who rose from nothing to become perhaps the most famous of all British female artists in a period when it was much harder for women as such to achieve success.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Laura Knight: A Life, 22 Jan. 2014
This review is from: Laura Knight: A Life (Hardcover)
Laura Knight: A Life by Dr Barbara Morden.
Laura Knight: A life, is a fine book produced in a style that harks back to the days before paper backs; it's cover is an image of the Artist on a hard binding that seems suitable to the era of the central character of the work. The binding's contrasted colours instantly draw attention to the book which, being only around 250 or so pages make it a comfortable size and weight for reading anywhere.
The Title is a giveaway; it is a biography of one of the foremost female Artists of the early 20th century; but being of 250 or so pages doesn't detract from the work. It is a big story that has been very well written in a clear and concise style that has been achieved, where other biographers of this Artist have failed, by the quality and depth of the research with each sentence of the book being carefully crafted to say exactly what it needs to say and know more.
The Author, Barbara Morden, has obviously put a great deal of thought and hard work into, both, the research and production of the book. It is must read for anybody interested in Biography in general and Art History in Particular.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars 'Laura Knight: A Life', 20 Jan. 2014
This review is from: Laura Knight: A Life (Hardcover)
This is a fascinating biography of Dame Laura Knight, delightfully and skilfully written - and clearly rigorously researched - with a selected quote forming each chapter heading. The writing is complemented by finely-reproduced colour plates and black & white photographs spanning Dame Laura's lifetime.

The choice of textured binding, and the wood-cut self-portrait featured on the front cover, reflect the style of publications of the 1920s and `30s era - `introducing' us to Dame Laura before we open the book. A 'dust-jacket' would seem superfluous!

The book is also in a size and format that can only enhance its readability - convenient in that it is not too big or heavy to hold open or to take out in a bag - and it should be read from cover to cover!

A highly recommended read - whether already familiar with, or completely new to, the works of Dame Laura Knight.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I Loved It, 9 April 2014
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A friend recommended Barbara Morden’s fascinating biography of Laura Knight: A Life and although I was completely new to Dame Laura Knight’s work, I absolutely loved this book. Barbara’s meticulous research and her writing expertise bring Laura Knight’s paintings to life: the Staithes family in their sparsely furnished room, the circus performers, clowns and animals, and the record of the WW2 Nuremberg trials which Knight painted in her late sixties, and to which Morden refers thus: ‘As if in a mirage, the Courtroom dissolves left into the tortured landscapes of a ruined and burning city.’ Barbara Morden also enriches ‘A Life’ by describing the key people and characters who were influential in the development of the many different styles in which Knight worked throughout her long hard-working life. I applaud Barbara Morden on her excellent biography.
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9 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An evocative window into a fascinating life., 20 Jan. 2014
This review is from: Laura Knight: A Life (Hardcover)
Having read the reviews of this book I am rather saddened by the tone of 2 of them.
To say the quality of the material and construction of the book is poor, I am unqualified to comment on, not being a printer,but I find the style and appearance very evocative of much of the period it covers.

For sure, if you required an exemplary study of English Grammar, Barbara Morden could produce as many as you wanted.
The literary style is comfortable and subject easy to read,digest and retain - but then I am only educated to GCE O level standard. I also agree with the
authors interpretation of "Fellow Traveller."
Just enjoy.
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6 of 10 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Very disappointing, 24 Jan. 2014
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This review is from: Laura Knight: A Life (Hardcover)
As an admirer of much of Laura Knight's work, I was really looking forward to reading this book. However, it was a very disappointing read. The writing is so pedestrian, and instead if bringing the subject to life, it seems to embalm and obfuscate the painter in page after page of moribund prose. There are too many snide attacks on the previous biography by Janet Dunbar ( which does have its faults), and a rather patronising tone which develops when Dr Morden is explaining rather obvious aspects of the historical background. There are countless proof reading errors, and even the date of Laura Knight's death is incorrect. The publishers of the book have produced it in a cheap and mean- spirited edition, with extremely poor paper and few illustrations and it is not worth the asking price of £19.99. I suspect that Laura Knight would be appalled.
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0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Thank you for my Laura Knight book, 28 Jan. 2014
This review is from: Laura Knight: A Life (Hardcover)
Thank you so much . I was able to receive it much earlier and the shipping was fast and the book perfect . I am looking for her oil paint and grease paint and the magic of a line . I don't want to pay a fortune but if these are available please let me know . I am so happy with your service to provide harder to find books and film I can't get in the US . Lynne
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2 of 17 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Could do better..., 19 Jan. 2014
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This review is from: Laura Knight: A Life (Hardcover)
With such an attractive subject and a largely brisk narrative style, this is an enjoyable and informative read, but one which is let down by many syntactical and lexical mistakes. Time and again the author begins sentences with clauses that do not tie in with the subsequent clause e.g. (page 71) "Meeting Henry Hopwood in the capital, he told them of his intention....". It is basic editorial practice to check for congruence and I have found several of these in this text even as a general reader. The writer also mis-uses the term "fellow-traveller". A fellow-traveller is not a synonym for a sympathetic soul but a specific term describing someone who shares one's left-wing political beliefs... And so on...
I also agree with the previous reviewer that the edition has been produced cheaply and unattractively. This really is not good enough.
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Laura Knight: A Life
Laura Knight: A Life by Barbara C. Morden (Hardcover - 20 Dec. 2013)
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