Laura Knight was one of the most highly regarded English artists during the first half of the 20th century. Born in Derbyshire, Knight studied at Nottingham School of Art where she met fellow student Harold Knight whom she married in 1903. Knight worked in oil paint, watercolour, etching and drypoint. She was a realist, figurative painter with the themes of her paintings ranging from circus performers and ballet dancers, to gypsies. The female figure is central in many of her works. Throughout her career Knight competed in the male-dominated art world and succeeded in paving the way for female artists. In 1929 she was created a Dame (DBE), and in 1936 she became the first woman elected to full membership at the Royal Academy.