A new exhibition that pays homage to a female artist whose love of Worcestershire inspired her art will open in Worcester.

The new exhibition Dame Laura Knight: I Paint Today opens at Worcester City Art Gallery and Museum tomorrow (January 13) and runs until Sunday, June 30 2024.

Curated by Worcester City Art Gallery & Museum, I Paint Today pays homage to the first female artist welcomed into the Royal Academy and whose love of Worcestershire and the Malvern Hills inspired her art throughout the later years of her life.

I Paint Today brings a stirring selection of Knight’s work to Worcestershire and focuses on key events, characters and achievements which helped to shape her life and career.

Works from the Worcester City collection will be joined by loans from regional and national collections including the Imperial War Museum, to help tell the story of a woman who grew out of the Victorian era and developed and adapted her craft through a period of tumultuous change.

From 1933 Laura Knight and her husband, Harold were frequent visitors to Malvern and fell in love with the dramatic landscape of the Malvern Hills which became a subject of her much-loved paintings. Knight claimed she did her best landscapes in Malvern and her paintings of this period demonstrate her love of the countryside in all seasons.

She would start her day with a walk over the Malvern Hills, using make-shift studios around the hills to create from, and then meet fellow artists to 'take the water'.

Through the 1920s and 1930s Knight was known for painting theatrical scenes. The Yellow Dress, a much-loved artwork in the Worcester City collection and featured in the exhibition, shows the costume-making studio at the Royal Shakespeare Company, capturing colour and artistry with thick brushstrokes.

At the outbreak of World War Two, Knight enlisted with the War Artists Advisory Committee. From the slopes of the Malvern Hills, she watched the bombings of Coventry and Birmingham. Laura painted many iconic images of the war including a pictorial record of the Nuremburg trials.

Despite moving back to London after Harold’s death, familiar echoes of the Malvern landscape that Dame Laura Knight loved so much can be detected in her paintings right up until the end of her life.

Deborah Fox, Museums Worcestershire senior curator, said: “Worcester City Art Gallery & Museum is committed to bringing great art and artists to the region.

"We are very excited to celebrate the extraordinary life and prolific work of Dame Laura Knight and are particularly pleased to revisit her connections with our beautiful county.”

An illustrated map of Dame Laura Knight’s links to Malvern, created especially for the exhibition, can be purchased from the Art Gallery & Museum and Malvern Tourist Information Centre.

Recently revised opening hours mean that the Art Gallery & Museum is now open Tuesday – Saturday 10am – 4pm and Sunday 10am – 3pm.

This is a paid-for exhibition and tickets can be booked at www.museumsworcestershire.org.uk

The rest of the art gallery and museum is free to visit.