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Yarn to Knit Blog

Wednesday, 16 March 2011


Last Sunday I went to see the "Watercolour" exhibition in Tate Britain. While admiring painting by Walter Langley below I thought I would blog about knitting in paintings. There are quite a few out there. Here is a small selection.

Walter Langley (1852-1922)
Born in Birmingham, Langley settled in Newlyn in Cornwall early in 1882. Many of his works were inspired by the lives of the fishing community there. In this example two women wait in their cottage for the return of a fisherman missing at sea.
This work shows Langley's mastery of subtle colour harmonies and texture and his bold use of scratching-out, for example in the strands of the women's hair where it is caught by the light. Langley was unusual among Victorian artists in that he made his name purely through his watercolours - he didn't begin to exhibit oils regularly until 1892.

Walter Langley - But Men Must Work and Women Must Weep

John Thomas Peele (1822 - 1897)
Painter of genre, landscape and portraits. Born in Peterborough but at 12 emigrated to America with his parents and settled in Buffalo where he began to paint. Studied in New York then worked in Albany for several years as a portrait painter. Returned to NY but about 1851 returned to London and lived there apart from some recorded stays in Liverpool and the Isle of Man. Exhibited at the RA and elsewhere. Often featured children as subjects.

John Thomas Peele - The Knitting Lesson, 1858, oil on canvas

Jules Adolphe Aimé Louis Breton (May 1, 1827 – July 5, 1906)
was a 19th century French Realist painter. His paintings are heavily influenced by the French countryside and his absorption of traditional methods of painting helped make Jules Breton one of the primary transmitters of the beauty and idyllic vision of rural existence.

Jules Breton - Young Woman Knitting

William Dyce (1806-1864) 
was originally from Scotland and came to Wales for his health and a change of air in 1860. The artist was immediately captivated by the area. This painting, based on sketched material from his excursion, was probably painted in the studio on his return to London.

William Dyce's Welsh Landscape with Two Women Knitting, 1860 © Amgueddfa Cymru - National Museum Wales

Jozef Israëls (27 January 1824, Groningen - 12 August 1911, Scheveningen)
was a Dutch painter, and "the most respected Dutch artist of the second half of the nineteenth century".
He was born in Groningen, of Jewish parents. His father intended for him to be a man of business, and it was only after a determined struggle that he was allowed to enter on an artistic career. However, the attempts he made under the guidance of two second-rate painters in his native town Buys and van Wicheren while still working under his father as a stock-broker's clerk, led to his being sent to Amsterdam, where he became a pupil of Jan Kruseman and attended the drawing class at the academy. He then spent two years in Paris, working in Picot's studio, and returned to Amsterdam. There he remained till 1870, when he moved to The Hague for good.

Jozef Israels - Three Women Knitting by the Sea


  1. There is a picture in Osbourne House of Queen Victoria and various of her daughters knitting

  2. I will definitely pop in when I go to Isle of Wight. Thanks!

  3. Hello! I blogged about this subject today too! There is a painting by David Allen in the Hunterian Gallery in Glasgow with a lady knitting stockings in it :)