Dame Laura Knight Archive
Dame Laura Knight
Oil on canvas
25 x 30 inches (63.5 x 76.2 cm)
Framed: 32 x 37 inches (81.2 x 94 cm)
Signed Laura Knight
Inscribed on the reverse July 1923 – no. 37 N.E.
Painted circa 1922-23, this work was based on sketches and a finished watercolor of the same subject made during the artist’s first voyage to America on the Olympic in 1922. Laura Knight had been invited by Homer Saint-Gaudens, the Assistant Director of Fine Arts at the Carnegie Institute in Pittsburgh, to be one of two European representatives on the Jury of Awards for that year’s International Exhibition of Paintings. The other European member was the French painter, Lucien Simon, with whom Knight traveled on her Atlantic crossing. Both artists made many studies on the voyage, mainly of emigrants on the lower deck.
The watercolor study for the present work, which similarly depicts a view looking aft from the promenade deck into the steerage, was exhibited at the Royal Society of Painters in Watercolors in 1923. It was also illustrated in Laura Knight: A Book of Drawings, published in the same year with a foreword by Charles Marriott.