Laura Knight Spring in Cornwall - Tate. Image supplied by MK Gallery

Generous support from the public means that MK Gallery can stage the largest Dame Laura Knight exhibition in more than 50 years.

The crowdfunding campaign raised £10,000 in just 15 days. Now MK Gallery can bring together over 160 works by England’s trailblazing female artist for a retrospective of Knight’s illustrious career.

The generous donations made by the public will help fund the logistics of bringing together paintings, drawings, and design work from private and public collections across the UK.

A proportion of the funds will be allocated to vital conservation work so that generations to come can continue to enjoy Knight’s incredible body of work.

Laura Knight was one of England’s most popular and prolific artists, a radical painter of women, war, and marginalised people with a long career that saw her become the first woman elected to the Royal Academy of Arts and the first female artist to be made Dame of the British Empire.

MK Gallery Director, Anthony Spira, said:

“We are so happy to have met the target! Watching the percentage grow every day has been a real thrill and we’ve been overwhelmed by the enthusiasm. Clearly there is a big appetite for Laura Knight’s work, and we can’t wait to bring this special project together.

“We want to reward your incredible support with the most ambitious exhibition we can create so we are stretching our target and continuing our campaign.

“Thank you for your generous support and please do continue to share with all your friends and family. We look forward to welcoming you to the exhibition at MK Gallery very soon.”

Chloe by Laura Knight  - Tate Image supplied by MK Gallery

The campaign is run through Art Happens with Art Fund, the UK’s only crowdfunding platform dedicated to museums and galleries.

All levels of donation to the campaign receive a reward – from postcards of Laura Knight’s work to a limited-edition print by British photographer Hannah Starkey, whose staged portraits of women draw inspiration from Knight’s compositions.

The exhibition Laura Knight, A Panoramic View will survey Knight’s career spanning almost a century; from her fascination with the backstage world of ballet and the theatre and colourful portraits of everyday life, to her depictions of racial segregation in America and powerful commissions created as an official war artist during the Second World War.

In addition to Tate and the Imperial War Museum, the exhibition will collect works from across the UK, including the British Motor Museum, the British Postal Museum, Cadbury’s Archives, the Royal Shakespeare Company, Royal United Services Institute for Defence and Security Studies, and the National Archives.

Fay Blanchard, head of exhibitions, is delighted that exhibition will now be able to go ahead and is keen to let people know that they can still donate. She said:

“Can you help us go even further and make this show bigger and better? We would like to safety transport additional fragile artworks from Scotland which require specialist packing and art shippers, at a cost of over £2,000. The more we can raise, the more works we will be able to bring together.

“The campaign runs until midnight on August 16th so there is still time to donate via the Art Fund website.”

Donate via the Art Fund website https://artfund.org/celebrate-laura-knight.

Gypsies at Ascot by Laura Knight  - Tate Image supplied by MK Gallery