The artist is strongly associated with the Newlyn School, having moved to the Cornish fishing village with his wife Laura in 1907, but these works were all from the period 1888-95 when he was a precocious student at Nottingham School of Art.
The four charcoal drawings and two oil paintings were consigned by a descendant of Frederick Riley, an art teacher at the school.
R John Croft, the great-nephew of Laura Knight, helped with the cataloguing and will include them in the forthcoming Knight catalogue raisonné.
At the auction on December 14, they all sold for a combined £7950.
The highest price came for one of the charcoal drawings: a head and shoulders study of an unknown boy. Measuring 17 x 11½in (43 x 29.5cm), it was described in the catalogue as a ‘meticulous and empathetic portrait reminiscent of the contemporary artist-photographers of the Linked Ring of the 1890s’. The treatment of the boy’s head, with the angle and expression evoking pity, was also reminiscent of studies made by Walter Langley and other early members of the Newlyn School.
Estimated at £2000-2500, it sold at £2200 – a decent sum and even more notable considering it was such an early sketch by the artist.