Often best remembered at the husband of Laura Knight, Harold was also an accomplished artist in his own right and showed a particular talent for painting portraits and interiors.
Born in Nottingham, Knight studied at the Nottingham School of Art and went to Paris in 1894, where he continued his training at the Académie Julian under Benjamin constant and Jean-Paul Laurens. He married Laura Johnson in 1903 and they spend their early married life in Staithes, Yorkshire. Knight also made several visits to Holland and was considerably influenced both by the Dutch Old Masters and the Nineteenth century Hague School of painters. They lived in Newlyn, Cornwall from 1907-1918 and then moved to London.
Knight’s first success came in 1905 when his genre scene, A cup of tea, exhibited at the Royal Academy, was bought for the Queensland Art Gallery, Australia. His Royal Academy exhibit of 1909 entitled The letter marked a change in his choice of subject matter and signified the beginning of a series of painting of women in interiors; it was acquired by the Leeds City Art Gallery for their permanent collection.
A prolific and successful artist, Knight exhibited at the Royal Academy from 1896-1961 and at the Royal Institute of Oil Painters. He was elected a Royal Academician in 1937, and one year later his painting A student was purchased for the nation under the terms of the Chantrey Bequest. The work of Harold Knight is represented in the public collections of the National Portrait Gallery, the Royal Academy of Arts and Tate Britain, London; Touchstones, Rochdale; the Laing Art Gallery, Newcastle; Nottingham Castle Museum and Art Gallery; Harris Museum & Art Gallery; Newark Town Hall Museum & Art Gallery; Manchester Art Gallery; Leeds Art Gallery; Grundy Art Gallery; Glasgow Museums; Birmingham Museums Trust; Pannett Art Gallery; Bury Art Museum; Penlee House Gallery & Museum; Russell Cotes Art Gallery & Museum; National Museum Wales, Brighton & Hove Museums; Aberdeen Art Gallery & Museums.