Knights began work in 1928, eventually finishing the altarpiece five years later in 1933. It was to be the last major work completed by Knights. Bishop Bell, who was involved with commissions for religious works from numerous artists including Vanessa Bell, Duncan Grant, Augustus Lunn and Hans Feibusch, described the St Martin Altarpiece as ‘one of the most lovely, delicate and deeply felt modern religious paintings that I know’ (G.K.A. Bell,‘The Church and the Artist’, The Studio, September 1942, vol. 124, no. 594, p. 81).