Edward Poynter England
3-20-1836 Paris, FRA – 7-26-1919 London, ENGBack to Artist IndexView Artists Paintings
Edward Poynter was the son of the architect Ambrose Poynter. He was born in Paris, though his parents returned to Britain soon after. He was educated at Brighton College and Ipswich School, but left school early for reasons of ill health, spending winters in Madeira and Rome. In 1853 he met Frederick Leighton in Rome, who made a great impression on the 17-year-old Poynter. On his return to London he studied at Leigh's academy and the Royal Academy Schools, before going to Paris to study in the studio of the classicist painter Charles Gleyre where James McNeill Whistler and George du Maurier were fellow-students.
In 1866 Edward Poynter married the famous beauty Agnes MacDonald and they had three children. Her sister Georgiana married the artist Edward Burne-Jones; her sister Alice was the mother of writer Rudyard Kipling; and her sister Louisa was the mother of three-times-Prime Minister of the United Kingdom Stanley Baldwin.
Edward Poynter became best known for his large historical paintings such as Israel in Egypt (1867; Guildhall Art Gallery, London), followed by St George for England (1869), a mosaic for the Central Lobby of the Palace of Westminster, depicting St George and the Dragon. Visit of the Queen of Sheba (1871–75) and King Solomon (1890).
Edward Poynter held a number of official posts: he was the first Slade Professor at University College London from 1871 to 1875, principal of the National Art Training School from 1875 to 1881 and director of the National Gallery from 1894 to 1904. He became a Royal Academician in 1876. In 1896, Poynter was elected President of the Royal Academy. He received a knighthood in the same year and an honorary degree from Cambridge University in 1898. He was made a baronet in 1902.
It appears from the subjects of his paintings and his association with Kipling that he was a Freemason. Prints of his painting The Visit of the Queen of Sheba to King Solomon are to be found in many Masonic Lodges around the world.
Art Movement: Victorian Classicism
Influences: Frederick Leighton, Charles Gleyre
Traveled: Portugal, Italy