Dame Laura Knight (1877 1970) was one of the leading British painters of the twentieth century. However, her rejection of Modernism and her association with the mainstream led to a decline in her reputation, and since her death she has, to some extent, fallen into obscurity. This long overdue reappraisal of an outstanding and pioneerin g female artist features over 35 of her finest works from across her long and prolific career, demonstrating bo th the remarkable variety of her subjects and her consummate skills as an artist. Knight worked as a professional artist without a break from the age of fourteen until almost the end of her life. She was the first woman in over a century to be accepted as a full member of the Royal Academy and was made a Dame in 1929, having risen to the top of her profession and attained a status equal to the most successful male artists of the time. During the course of an extraordinarily productive career that spanned over seventy years, Knights work reflected her commitment to depicting modern life and her fascination with the human figure as asserted in her iconic Self with Nude (1913). She successfully negotiated the professional art world at a time when other wo men artists struggled for recognition and sought to control her public image via two volumes of autobiography. This book, like the exhibition it accompanies, demonstrates Knights impressive skills as a painter and draughtsman, her courage in tackling co mplex compositions and challenging subjects, and her compassionate approach to the sitters with whom she worked. Taken together, the selection of portraits also presents a distinctive picture of twentieth - century Britain.