A Misty Sunrise, By 1956
Laura Knight RA (1877 – 1970)
RA Collection: Art
In this landscape, painted in the Malvern Hills, a large scot's fir branch in the immediate foreground is boldly silhouetted against bright sunlight and leads the eye down across a mist-shrouded valley.
Laura and Harold Knight came to know Malvern during the 1930s through visits to the Black Hill home of the theatre director Sir Barry Jackson. They would often spend the Summer there when attending Jackons's Malvern Theatrical Festival. After the Second World War, the Park Hotel at nearby Colwall became their pied-à-terre. Harold Knight died there in 1961.
The countryside around the Malvern Hills came as a revelation to Knight and in her autobiography she recalled: '[I]t took years and years for me to become sufficiently familiar with the immense beauty of that landscape before I even dared to make the least record of such visual indulgence. As I write I live again, basking in the first rays of the sun rising over the Bredon Hill to dry up the floating strands of mist hiding the flatter country to the west'.
Some of Laura Knight's first paintings of the landscape around Malvern were sunrises executed in watercolour that were observed initially from the windows of hotel rooms overlooking the Severn Valley, and later from a studio 'on the heights' half-way up Hereford Beacon. Knight's 'rage for painting dawns' was accompanied by a fascination with the effects of mist, as is evident in many of her Malvern landscapes: 'September month is the best time', Knight explained, ' - in contrast to the suns and clouds "doing their stuff"; strands of grey mist wreathe the landscape, the trees appear to have no roots, and church spires no naves to prop them up.'
Although A Misty Sunrise is painted in oils, the paint is thinly applied in a technique that is reminiscent of the earlier watercolours.
960 x 760 x 28 mm
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