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8 July 2016
‘The Marriage at Cana’ 1923 by Winifred Knights is normally in New Zealand, at the Te Papa, but has come to Dulwich for this exhibition. ‘The work is inspired by religious imagery in Renaissance painting, and reimagines the biblical miracle of Jesus turning water into wine’ (Te Papa website); this ‘large and beautiful work’ has ‘an atmosphere of beguiling strangeness’ said the Observer‘s Laura Cumming here, in a piece about an ‘intensely sensitive and compelling exhibition’ which concludes: ‘Anyone visiting Dulwich Picture Gallery’s exquisite revival of her work will wonder first to last what exactly happened to Knights, whose startling career vanished without trace even during her life.’ Well, that is what visitors to the shop say every day about Dorothy Whipple, Marghanita Laski and almost every single one of ‘our’ writers. There are exceptions (Katherine Mansfield, Winifred Holtby, Virginia Woolf, Etty Hillesum) but in general we discuss over and over again the key rhetorical question – ‘how can it be that so-and-so’s career vanished without trace even during her life’?
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