Dame Laura Knight Portrait achives £6500

1st June 2024

A charcoal and watercolour portrait of the famous early 20th century pianist Ethel Bartlett achieved a buying price of £6500 when recently sold by Killens at the Mendip Auction Rooms to a London art gallery. Painted by Dame Laura Knight (British, 1877-1970), the picture was sold by Ethel’s niece.

At the time of painting, Ethel was considered one of England’s most beautiful women and was a favourite portrait subject for Laura Knight. Knight, née Johnson, was one of Britain’s most highly regarded artists in the first half of the 20th century; a figurative artist who worked in oils, watercolours, etching, engraving and drypoint in the realist tradition. She was made a Dame in 1929, and was the first woman to be elected a Royal Academician in 1936. She moved with her husband to Cornwall where they became prominent members of the Newlyn School of plein-air artists, whilst her subject matter later embraced the world of theatre and ballet, marginalised communities and individuals. She also worked as a war artist during the Second World War. In particular, her success in the male-dominated British art establishment paved the way for greater status and recognition for women artists.

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