Laura Knight (1877-1970) was one of the most highly regarded female artists of her generation. From humble beginnings, she forged a successful career - she was the first female artist to be made a Dame of the British Empire (1929) and the first woman to be elected as a Royal Academician (1936) since its foundation in 1768. She travelled with the circus and ballet in the 1920s and 1930s and immortalised the lives of these bohemian circles in a period of great conformity.
Much of her work vividly depicts the intimate and private world of women, and the life of the ballet and theatre, recurring themes that informed Knight's work during her career. Her art was popular, insightful, intimate and brilliant. Her technical abilities - in whatever medium - mixed sparkling innovation with academic rigour.