Richard Payne Knight (1751-1824), Art collector and writer
Sitter associated with 6 portraits
A collector and arbiter of taste, Knight was known for his antiquarian interests and writings on aesthetics. He gained notoriety with his Discourse on the Worship of Priapus (1786) which, as it discussed sexual symbolism in ancient societies, was attacked as immoral. He also wrote on architecture and garden design; his didactic poem The Landscape (1794) contributed to the debate on the merits of the Picturesque. In 1805, Knight was among the founders of the British Institution to promote history painting. He bequeathed his collection of coins, gems, drawings and sculptures to the British Museum.
Scholarship and Research