Laura Knight

British, b.1877, d.1970

Les Sylphides From The Back Of The Stage

  • 1920
  • Watercolour
  • Presented by the Canterbury Society of Arts and a group of Christchurch citizens, 1935
  • 444 x 558mm
  • 69/566

Dame Laura Knight saw the ballet as an exciting subject and to understand it better she took lessons at the old Imperial Russian Ballet of St Petersburg. The ballerina Lydia Lopokova is the central subject. From behind the scenes, Knight would rapidly sketch the dancers’ graceful movements, capturing the structure of the body and what it could do in dance. This was a very popular decorative image and style in English homes in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Knight began to explore the ballet as a subject during the period following the First World War. Dame Laura Knight was educated in both England and France and studied art at the Nottingham School of Art and the Royal College of Art. She exhibited at the Royal Academy from 1903. She married Harold Knight (1874 -1961), also an artist, and they lived in London and Newlyn, Cornwall.