Two paintings of the Nuremberg Trials by war artist, Dame Laura Knight, have been loaned to the Ben Uri Gallery and Museum after selling at auction for £27,500.
The chalk and watercolour sketches of Prisoners in the Dock were bought by an anonymous collector who described them as being “highly relevant to the museum’s heritage.”
The Nuremberg Trials began in 1945 and saw the conviction of 19 major Nazi war criminals including Hermann Göring, Rudolf Hess, Hans Frank and Joachim von Ribbentrop. Knight was commissioned by the War Artists Advisory Committee and produced the painting which is now in the Imperial War Museum. The two paintings now on loan to the Ben Uri Gallery were preliminary sketches for this work.
Sarah MacDougall, the Museum’s Director and former Head of Collections, expressed her delight at this acquisition. “These paintings will be shown in an exhibition of new acquisitions and loans in February 2022. Both physically and digitally they will illustrate the many stories of this time that need to be both told and remembered.”
The artworks came under the hammer at Woolley and Wallis Salerooms in Salisbury where head of Paintings, Victor Fauvelle, was happy to learn of their fate. “I’m extremely pleased that these artworks are now going to be on public display for the foreseeable future,” he said. “It’s 75 years since Knight made her incredible records of this major war trial and while the finished work is on display at the Imperial War Museum, these sketches are a more immediate and spontaneous response to the events she witnessed at Nuremberg. As such, they appear as fresh today as when she drew them.”