An exhibition of over 30 boldly realised landscapes, still lifes and interior studies directly selected from the artist's studio estate. Under his brush, searing colours and bold patterns paraphrased the everyday and the picturesque into something chic and surprising. Knollys painted the rolling hills of the Drôme valley or a bowl of lemons with equal gusto, and his works pulse with a fascination for colour. His friend Duncan Grant once described his pictures as marked by “such courageous enthusiasm… [Knollys] is one of the purest painters I know.”
Eardley Knollys was an English artist of the Bloomsbury School of artists, art critic, art dealer and collector, active from the 1920s to 1950s. He only began to paint himself in 1949, and had his first solo exhibition at the age of 58 in 1960, by which time he was already a "minor legend in British art".
Born in Alresford, Hampshire to Cyprian Robert Knollys, a land agent descended from a junior branch of the family of the Earl of Banbury and his wife Audrey, he was educated at Winchester and Christ Church, Oxford. He was a director of The Storran Gallery at 106 Brompton Road, opposite Harrods.
Edward Sackville-West, 5th Baron Sackville, Patrick Trevor-Roper, the literary critic Raymond Mortimer, the music critic Desmond Shawe-Taylor and Knollys established "what in effect was a male salon, entertaining at the weekends a galaxy of friends from the worlds of books and music" in Long Crichel, Dorset, including James Lees-Milne, a close friend of Knollys, who recruited him to join him at the National Trust during WWII, and over the next 15 years accompanied him on many of the trips to country houses recorded in his published volumes of diaries.