Millie Knight by Dene Leigh
Investigate the many layers in one of The Beaney’s newest portraits.
How to use this resource
This resource is free to use by anyone but has been developed to support learning in Key Stage 3 and 4.
You could use this resource as part of a group, discuss the information and answer the questions together.
Or you could use the resource independently and write notes on what you find out and record your responses.
Curriculum links: Art & Design, PSHE
Themes: Portraiture, Identity, Disability, Sport
Who is the Sitter?
Millie Knight lives in Canterbury, attended King’s School Canterbury, and obtained a Degree in Psychology at the University of Kent. Millie is blind and aged 15 she was the youngest ever British athlete to compete at a Winter Paralympics. She has won Gold, Silver and Bronze medals in various competitions including the Paralympic Winter Games and other World championships.
Millie Knight was nominated to sit for this portrait due to her successes in sport and for being ‘an outstanding role mode for young people locally and around the country’. Visual impairment is under-represented in Canterbury Museums’ Collections and this was the first portrait acquired that portrays someone who is blind.
“Obviously because I’ve only got peripheral sight, I don’t have the central area of vision… my brain for some reason fills in the blank and kind of patches everything together and I won’t realise that I really can’t see centrally.” – Millie Knight
Investigate the portrait!
Click on the arrows to explore the painting. Each time you click right you will be taken to a different detail in the painting.
Click on the eye icon if you want to hide or reveal the text.
Audio Descriptions are used to communicate visual information and are one of the best ways for blind and partially sighted visitors to access things in museum collections.
Listening to an audio description can also provide additional information and insights. By listening to the audio description below for example, you will also hear from Millie Knight herself.Millie Knight by Dene Leigh
Who is the Artist?
The portrait was painted by artist Dene Leigh (born 1989). Dene Leigh specialises in oil painting using layered imagery to uniquely capture the personality, life and achievements of his portrait sitters. He is also exploring his own heritage through his paintings.
How did they make the portrait?
The artist first met the sitter at The Beaney when the portraits were being commissioned and they had conversations to get to know each other.
The portrait painting itself was also informed by a drawing Millie made of herself and how she experiences the world. Dene was drawn to how her memory plays such an integral role in her everyday life.
Dene Leigh (born 1989)
Oil on linen
75cm x 60cm
On display: People and Places Gallery
- Sitter: A person depicted in a portrait.
- Identity: The aspects of someone’s life that make up their sense of self, such as their gender, beliefs, race, cultural heritage and sexual orientation etc.
- Paralympics: A major international sports competition for athletes with disabilities.
- Blind: The condition of having severely impaired or absolutely no sense of sight.
- Serendipity: The luck some people have in finding or creating interesting or valuable things by chance.