A pioneering painter of women, war and marginalised people, Laura Knight’s staggering success in the male-dominated art world paved the way for the recognition of women artists.

With a style that sat somewhere between figurative painting, realist tradition and English Impressionism, Laura Knight (1877-1970) is considered one of the most prolific 20th-century English artists. She was particularly known for her work as a war artist during the Second World War, shining a new light on women’s role in the war effort, and for her fascination with the backstage world of ballet, theatre and circus, often painting marginalised people.

As an artist Laura Knight was constantly breaking conventions and challenging stereotypes – notably she was the first woman elected to full membership of the Royal Academy. The exhibition will feature 160 of her powerful works, from commissions created during the Second World War, rarely seen paintings and graphic works, to ceramics jewellery and costume.

This exhibition was made possible by a campaign run by MK Gallery though our crowdfunding platform, Art Happens – 258 funders raised £11,350 and helped make history by staging the largest Laura Knight exhibition in over 50 years.

Art HappensFashionCeramicsDecorative artsPaintingPrints & drawingsModern art

MK Gallery

900 Midsummer Blvd, Milton Keynes, Buckinghamshire, MK9 3QA

01908 676900


Opening times

Tuesday – Saturday 10am–5pm
Closed Mondays

Last entry into exhibition is 4.30pm


Exhibition entry is by timed tickets.

Visitors are encouraged to wear face masks in the building, but this is not compulsory.

Hand sanitiser stations are placed throughout the building.

Our lockers are not in use, so please travel light as large bags are not permitted in the galleries.

Enhanced cleaning regularly takes place throughout the building.

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