Heather Whatley’s new book ‘Laura Knight in the Malverns’ has just arrived on the bookshelves. Heather was the founder and is now the Vice Chair of the Friends of Dame Laura Knight Society.
Timed to coincide with the Dame Laura Knight Exhibition in Exhibition Walk organised by the Society, which continues until 10th August, and to commemorate the 50th anniversary of Laura’s death the author hopes this book will fill a ‘gap in the market’.
Most biographies of Laura mention her stay in Malvern but none give detail of the three decades from 1931 to 1961 that she lived here. Drawing on recorded memories of local people the author hopes to bring to life the woman as well as the artist, a dynamic personality who engaged socially with all the locals she met, many of whom she painted.
Using Society archives, photos, maps and illustrations of Laura’s local paintings the writer traces Laura and Harold’s stay in Malvern from early Festival days, their permanent stay during World War 2, when Laura was a prolific War Artist, to their frequent returns to the town post war to see old friends and to continue painting.
By the time Laura came to Malvern in 1931 she was already an internationally acclaimed artist, the first woman elected to the Royal Academy. Over her long life she excelled at many media depicting a wide range of subjects, including the ballet, gypsies, theatre, children, farmworkers and women.
Dame Laura Knight claimed she did her best landscapes in Malvern and her paintings of this period demonstrate her love of our countryside in all seasons and leave us with a colourful record of the lives of ordinary working people and our cultural history.
Book is published by Aspect Printers, costs £7.50 and will be available in local Tourist Information Centre, bookshops and museums.
(Illustrations include many images of paintings from the Exhibition.)
Pop into Malvern Tourist Information Centre to purchase your own copy at The Lyttelton Well Courtyard, 6 Church Street, Malvern, WR14 2AY.
Find out more about the Dame Laura Knight open-air exhibition here.
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