Winifred Knights (1899-1947):
Figure Study, ‘Scenes from the Life of St Martin of Tours’, circa 1929
Mounted (ref: 4293)
Pencil, 8 1/8 x 5 1/8 in. (20.5 x 13 cm.)
Provenance: the artist’s estate
Literature: Winifred Knights, exh. cat.,The Fine Art Society, London, 1995, pp. 56–7 (similar work repr. p. 43)
Knights began work in 1928, eventually finishing the altarpiece five years later in 1933. It was to be the last major work completed by Knights. Bishop Bell, who was involved with commissions for religious works from numerous artists including Vanessa Bell, Duncan Grant, Augustus Lunn and Hans Feibusch, described the St Martin Altarpiece as ‘one of the most lovely, delicate and deeply felt modern religious paintings that I know’ (G.K.A. Bell,‘The Church and the Artist’, The Studio, September 1942, vol. 124, no. 594, p. 81).
Glyn Jones was, perhaps predictably, less enthusiastic:‘Of the painting by the late Miss Knights, I say this: the few other paintings of hers which I have seen I have much admired, but I can make nothing of this one, beyond the usual technical skill.’ (Glyn Jones, 8 April 1950, letter to Mr Rushbury).