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Knight, Laura, Dame, 1877 - 1970



  • Existence: 1877 - 1970


Dame Laura Knight, is the most celebrated British impressionist female artist of all time and the first woman to ever be elected to the Royal Academy. In her long career Knight was among the most successful and popular painters in Britain. Her success in the male-dominated British art establishment paved the way for greater status and recognition for women artists.

She was interested in marginalised communities and individuals and found great inspiration in circus performers. In the early 1920s Knight visited the Bertram Mills Circus, where she painted some of its performers. Throughout 1929 and 1930 Knight went on tour with the combined Bertram Mills and Great Carmo's Circus, painting the performers.

In 1929 Knight was made a Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire, and in June 1931 she received an honorary degree from St. Andrews University. Knight was elected President of the Society of Women Artists in 1932, post which she held until 1967.

Found in 12 Collections and/or Records:

Circus Friends Association Collection

Reference code: NFA0122
Scope and Contents

This collection consists of a large library of books and journals, as well as archival material including posters, programmes, photographs, films, handbills, research material, scrapbooks, original artwork and many other items of ephemera relating to British, Irish and European circuses

Dates: 1795 - 2020

Circus Photographs, 1910 - 1964

Reference code: 178C108.5141-5337
Scope and Contents Black and white and some colour photographs of circus scenes, animals, people and personalities including; Queen Elizabeth II, Prince Charles, Princess Anne, Dame Laura Knight, Bertram Mills, Cyril Mills, Winston Churchill, Coco, Whimsical Walker, A. Pearson equestrian director at Bertram Mills Circus, Percy Huxter, Lulu Adams, Cissie Rosaire, Aubry Rosaire and Zena Rosaire, also Rosaire Circus, Bertam Mills Circus, Tom Arnold's Circus, Ginnett's and Fossett's Circus and a large Barnum shows...
Dates: 1910 - 1964

Dame Laura Knight Related Material, 1965-1970

Reference code: 178Z50.34
Scope and Contents

Dame Laura Knight exhibition catalogues for the Royal Academy, Aquascutum and the Upper Grosvenor Galleries.

Dates: 1965-1970

Dame Laura Knight's Obituary and Funeral Material, 1970

Reference code: 178Q6.3
Scope and Contents

Items related to Dame Laura Knight's death including a newspaper obituary, a note to a Mr Saunders regarding the memorial service and a memorial and thanksgiving service card for Dame Laura Knight. Typescript.

Dates: 1970

Newspaper Cutting Related to Dame Laura Knight, 1960 - 1970

Reference code: 178G21.83
Scope and Contents

Newspaper cuttings related to Dame Laura Knight, including advertisement for an exhibition.

Dates: 1960 - 1970

Newspaper Cuttings and Scapbooks, 1838 - 2007

Reference code: 178G21
Scope and Contents

A collection of newspaper cuttings on circus, circus proprietors and performers and scrapbooks containing newspaper cuttings, posters, programmes and other items of ephemera, covering mainly British circuses and venues such as Belle Vue and also some international circuses.

Dates: 1838 - 2007

Newspaper Cuttings on The Great Carmo Circus, 1926 - 1966

Reference code: 178G21.91
Scope and Contents

Newspaper cuttings, including an article by Dame Laura Knight, pages from a scrapbook, photocopies of articles and two issus of Abra Cadabra magic journal.

Dates: 1926 - 1966

O'Beirne Collection

Reference code: NFA0146
Scope and Contents

Amateur Super8 cine reels filmed by Thomas O’Beirne, black and white and colour photographs and slides, circus and theatre posters, a watercolour and a small amount of other ephemera.

Dates: 1950 - 1975

Obituaries and Funeral Cards, 1911 - 2019

Reference code: 178Q6
Scope and Contents

Obituaries and funeral cards for George Sanger, Dame Laura Knight, Billy Merchant and Carmen Rosaire among others.

Dates: 1911 - 2019

Original Artwork, c1800 - 2000

Reference code: 178V11
Scope and Contents

Original works of art including artists' prints, drawings, watercolours and paintings, and designs for circus posters.

Dates: c1800 - 2000

Photographs and Postcards, c1800 - 1999

Reference code: 178C108
Scope and Contents

Black and white and colour photographs, negatives and photographic albums mainly containing images of British circus, circus performers, animals and circus personalities but also some menageries such as Bostock and Wombwell and other associated entertainments and non-British circuses taken by David Jamieson, Lindsay Temple, Den Curtis, Capt. Middleton, Jack Niblett and other photographers.

Dates: c1800 - 1999

The Acrobats Print, c1920 - 1939

Reference code: 178V11.1
Scope and Contents

Drypoint on paper by Dame Laura Knight. Black and white illustration of two circus acrobats performing in mid-air on the trapeze inside a circus tent on top section, fairground rides and stalls on the background and the audience on the bottom section.

Dates: c1920 - 1939

Additional filters:

Archival Object 10
Collection 2
Acrobats 3
Aerialists 4
Animal trainers 4
Animals 5
Art 3