Born at Long Eaton, Derbyshire, and raised in Nottingham, Laura attended art school near Paris, then Nottingham School of Art in 1890, where she met Harold KNIGHT, marrying him in 1903. After living in the arts colony at Staithes, the couple moved to Cornwall in 1907 and soon made friends with Dod PROCTER, Ernest PROCTER, and the Birch family, amongst many others. She involved herself indefatigably in the life of the Lamorna arts community, and was infamous for painting nude models on the cliffs nearby. She sold Mischief and The Kitten from NAG in 1910. Her friendship with the Birch family was maintained in correspondence with Mornie KERR until her death, and much valued, the child having featured as a model in Laura's and Harold's Cornish paintings.
The Knights were especially close friends of the Napers, the Leaders, the Hughes, and the Birches, and Laura was always careful to keep in touch with them over her long and celebrated life. Later, after leaving Cornwall in 1919, the Knights established themselves in London. During the 1920s and 1930s she became the well known painter of ballet, circus and gypsy life. She worked as a war artist during WWII, and in 1942 was appointed to record the Nuremberg trials in drawings.
In their concluding review of her life and work, Grimes et al comment: 'Women interested in British art, and British women artists, have all too few role models - Laura Knight is one of the most inspiring.' Her two volume autobiography Oil Paint and Grease Paint (1936) and The Magic of a Line (1965), though not great literature, provides one of the few first-hand accounts published of the community life of the artists in West Cornwall; the anecdotes from it are regularly rehearsed in the biographies of those who knew her.