Children Swimming

WAG 2242


In a letter of 1968, Knight wrote that this watercolour 'was painted on the rocky granite coast of Cornwall in the year 1912 or 1913, when I was working on similar subjects of different sizes. I had discovered a spot on the coast, rarely visited by anyone but my friends, who like the models I had from London, went into the pools and the sea itself in the nude'. It was exhibited at the Liverpool Autumn Exhibition in 1916. Despite the hectic experimentation of young avant-garde British artists in the second decade of the 20th century, painters like Laura Knight continued to paint in traditional, figurative styles. From 1903, Knight lived in Newlyn, Cornwall, which late Victorian painters had made into an artists' colony. Her many pictures of bathers emphasise the light and atmosphere of the Cornish coast. Later she became famous for her ballet and circus subjects and in 1936 was the first woman since 1769 to be elected a Royal Academician.