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Laura Knight began to paint the everyday lives of traveller communities in 1933 at Iver Common in Buckinghamshire. She also made drawings, many of which she returned to in 1952 to incorporate into a study for 'Early Morning in a Gypsy Camp'. Invited to the camp by resident Lilo Smith, Knight was made welcome and came to know the individuals in our painting intimately. She depicted them on numerous occasions: Beulah, the woman plaiting her hair to the right of the canvas, and Gilderoy, the naked boy in centre of the composition, feature in many portraits. Knight credits her time at Iver as one of her most inspiring life experiences, whilst acknowledging the struggles of the community: 'Although the mud of the road is their carpet, the sky is their ceiling'.

York Art Gallery



Early Morning in a Gypsy Camp




oil on canvas


H 96.5 x W 150 cm

Accession number

YORAG : 2019.43

Acquisition method

purchased with the Friends of York Art Gallery Bearpark Legacy Fund, 2019

Work type


Signature/marks description

signed bottom right: Laura Knight


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York Art Gallery

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