Sir Edward Poynter English Classicist Painter, 1836-1919
Neo-classical painter; son of the architect and painter Ambrose Poynter (1796-1886). Born in Paris. Visited Italy in 1853, where he met the young Frederic Leighton, and was much influenced by his neo-classical ideas. Returned to London and studied with Leigh and W.C.T. Dobson, and also at the RA Schools. In 1856 he entered Gleyre's Studio in Paris. From 1856-59 lived mainly in Paris, where he met Du Maurier, T.R. Lamont, T. Armstrong and Whistler, all of whom were to feature later in Du Maurier's novel Trilby. Returned to London in 1860. Appointed Slade Professor and later Director of Art at the South Kensington Museum. Exhibited at the Royal Academy from 1861, and at the British Institution, Old Watercolour Society, Grosvenor Gallery, New Gallery and elsewhere. He scored his first major success with 'Israel in Egypt', RA 1867. Later he turned more to Greek and Roman subjects, e.g. 'A Visit to Aesculapius', 'Psyche in the Temple of Love' and so forth. He also painted many smaller scenes of Roman or Greek life, mostly figures in marble interiors similar to those of Alma-Tadema. He had a stellar Royal Academy career: ARA 1869, RA 1876, PRA 1896-1918. Director of the National Gallery 1894-1906. Poynter was a strictly academic artist, who believed in study of the life model, and made studies for every figure in his pictures. He was also an illustrator, medallist, designer of tiles, and painter of wall decorations. His studio sale was held at Christie's, 19 January 1920. Manuscripts relating to him are held by the Victoria & Albert Museum.