The Friends of Dame Laura Knight Society,
Malvern & Colwall Branch

2nd November 2019 at Elmslie House:

Talk by Dr Pamela Gerrish Nunn, entitled
‘The Children of Laura Knight’

Dr Pamela Gerrish Nunn: Background
Pamela Gerrish Nunn began her career as an art historian in her native country of England, teaching in Bristol from 1976 and publishing in the field of 19th-century women artists from 1978. She moved to New Zealand in 1989 to teach at the University of Canterbury (Christchurch), where she worked for 20 years. After the 2011 earthquake in Christchurch, she moved north to the Wellington area, where she works as a freelance lecturer, curator and researcher. She has researched and published on individual female artists in 19th and 20th century western art on whom, in many cases, she is the sole or leading expert.

Heather Whatley
- Vice Chair

Heather Whatley gave a warm welcome to our speaker,   Dr Pamela Gerrish Nunn, freelance lecturer, curator and researcher, currently on a tour of the UK from her base in Wellington, NZ.

Pamela told us that early in Laura Knight’s career children featured often in her compositions – perhaps because it was a theme expected of female artists at the beginning of the 20th C but Pamela explained that expectations of the time did not constrain Laura in her portrayal of children.
To begin with Laura’s compositions were fairly simple and often based in a domestic setting but as her confidence grew as an artist, Laura captured children in action in more complex landscape settings and used the gaze of the child to connect with the viewer.

On this page , is a selection of pictures from the talk, click image(s) to enlarge view:

Lamorna Birch and his Daughters 1913 and 1934

Dr Pamela Gerrish Nunn

An early example ‘The Baby’, undated. Domestic setting, probably in Staithes.

The Beach 1908. This painting is filled with life, movement and light in an outdoor setting in Newlyn on the Cornish coast.

Flying a Kite 1910

By The Sea 1920
Evie Knight thanked Pamela for a most engaging talk.
It was beautifully illustrated - some of the paintings were new to the society and others featured some of Laura’s best work.
In exploring the role of children in LK’s early paintings, Pamela neatly incorporated the work of other artists which may have influenced her (although Laura flatly refused to admit it!) and also the influence of location and setting.
The hall at Elmslie was at full capacity – lovely to see such a good turnout from our members – and we all enjoyed Anna’s delicious homemade cakes and a good cup of tea.

Many thanks to Anna at Elmslie House (an added bonus was the exhibition of work by local artists still hanging in the hall from Autumn in Malvern Festival) and to everyone who helped to make the event a great success.
For a report of the evening's talk, please click here.