When the cat's away
signed 'H Knight' (lower left) and further signed, inscribed and numbered 'No 1/When the cat's away/H Knight/8 Belgrave Sqe/Nottingham' (on the artist's label attached to the reverse)
oil on canvas
3014 x 2414 in. (76.8 x 61.6 cm.)
A gift from the artist, and by descent until.
Anonymous sale; Bonhams, London, 2 April 2008, lot 90.
Anonymous sale; Sotheby's, London, 11 July 2019, lot 65, where purchased by the present owner.
Academy Notes, London, 1896, p. 21.
London, Royal Academy, 1896, no. 626.
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Lot Essay

According to the label attached to the stretcher, this painting was executed when Knight was only nineteen, living at home with his parents and studying at the Nottingham School of Art. Three years later, after travelling to Paris to study at the Académie Julien, Knight chose it as his inaugural exhibit at the Royal Academy. It is believed to have been given by Harold Knight to a fellow student of the Nottingham School of Art known as Riley. Although Harold and Laura Knight did not move to Newlyn until 1907, When the cat’s away shows that even as a student, Knight was looking at the work of artists such as Alexander Stanhope Forbes and his wife Elizabeth, and Frank Bramley, who found that painting inside allowed them to observe different light effects. They often retreated inside to paint and some of their finest works were executed indoors.
The painting is to be included in the catalogue raisonné of Laura and Harold Knight currently being compiled by R John Croft FCA, the great-nephew of the artist.
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