Later Victorian Portraits Catalogue

Sir Edward John Poynter, 1st Bt (1836-1919), Painter and President of the Royal Academy

Painter and arts administrator; born 20 March 1836 in Paris, son of an architect. Trained with Thomas Shotter Boys, W.C.T. Dobson, at Royal Academy Schools and in Paris with Charles Gleyre, where companion to James McNeill Whistler and George du Maurier; early and sustained career in decorative arts and illustration, alongside oil works on classical and multi-figure biblical subjects, often of heroic dimensions – Israel in Egypt (1867, Guildhall AG, London) established his name; married 1866 Agnes Macdonald, sister to Georgiana Burne-Jones, Alice Kipling and Louisa Baldwin; long exhibiting career at RA, Grosvenor Gallery, New Gallery and Royal Society of Painters in Water Colour; first director of Slade School, University College, London 1871, then head of National Art Training School; director National Gallery 1894 during creation of the Tate; elected ARA 1869, RA 1876, PRA 1896–1916; knighted 1896, created baronet 1902; died 26 July 1919, in London.

Professionally, Poynter was esteemed for his ‘cool and enlightened judgment’ and ‘the moral courage necessary for the expression of plain truths’. [1] Temperamentally morose, however, he was also described as ‘dignified and rather unapproachable’ with ‘an unaccountably melancholy and aloof expression’. [2] As his brother-in-law Edward Burne-Jones remarked, ‘Edward Poynter, whom some perhaps might not call a pleasant man … when he talks to himself always says Yes most amiably, and that’s about the only time he does say it. Why should this be so?’ [3]

Dr Jan Marsh

Footnotesback to top

1) Hamerton 1877, p.14.
2) Carr [1925] p.58.
3) Quoted Robertson 1931, p.81.

Referencesback to top

Baldwin 1960
Baldwin, A.W. [Lord], The Macdonald Sisters, London, 1960.

Bell 1927
Bell, C.F., ‘Poynter, Sir Edward John, first baronet (1836–1919)’, DNB, Oxford, 1927.

Carr [1925]
Carr, J.C., Mrs J. Comyns Carr’s Reminiscences, London, n.d. [1925].

Chiarini 1979
Chiarini, M., Gli Uffizi: Catalogo generale, Florence, 1979.

Cooper 1876–83
Cooper, T., Men of Mark: A Gallery of Contemporary Portraits of Men Distinguished in the Senate, the Church, in Science, Literature and Art, the Army, Navy, Law, Medicine, etc. Photographed from life by Lock and Whitfield, London, 7 ser., 1876–83.

Flanders 2001
Flanders, J., A Circle of Sisters: Alice Kipling, Georgiana Burne-Jones, Agnes Poynter and Louisa Baldwin, London, 2001.

Hamerton 1877
Hamerton, P.G., ‘Edward J. Poynter RA’, The Portfolio, no.8, 1877, pp.11–14.

Herkomer 1910–11
Herkomer, H. von, The Herkomers, 2 vols, London, 1910–11.

Inglis 2004
Inglis, A., ‘Poynter, Sir Edward John, first baronet (1836–1919)’, ODNB, Oxford, 2004; online ed. May 2010.

Jones et al. 1996
Jones, S., and others, Frederic Leighton 1830–1896, exh. cat., Royal Academy, London, 1996.

London 1907–9
Prominent Men of London, Shaftesbury Press, London, 1907–9.

Maas 1984
Maas, J., The Victorian Art World in Photographs, London, 1984.

MacCarthy 2011
MacCarthy, F., The Last Pre-Raphaelite: Edward Burne-Jones and the Victorian Imagination, London, 2011.

McMaster 2008
McMaster, J., ‘That Mighty Art of Black-and-White: Linley Sambourne, Punch and the Royal Academy’, British Art Journal, Autumn 2008, pp.62–76.

McMaster 2009
McMaster, J., That Mighty Art of Black-and-White: Linley Sambourne, Punch and the Royal Academy, Edmonton, Canada, 2009.

Mills 1923
Mills, J.S., Life and Letters of Sir Hubert Herkomer: A Study in Struggle and Success, London, 1923.

Monkhouse 1897
Monkhouse, W.C., Sir Edward J. Poynter PRA: His Life and Work (Easter Art Annual, supplement to Art Journal), London, 1897.

Noakes 1978
Noakes, A., William Frith: Extraordinary Victorian Painter, London, 1978.

O’Donoghue 1908–22
O’Donoghue, F., Catalogue of Engraved British Portraits preserved in the Department of Prints and Drawings in the British Museum, 5 vols, London, 1908–22 (and vol.6, H.M. Hake, Supplement and indexes, 1925).

Ormond 2010
Ormond, L., Linley Sambourne: Illustrator and Punch Cartoonist, London, 2010.

Ormond & Ormond 1975
Ormond, L., and R. Ormond, Lord Leighton, London, 1975.

Robertson 1931
Robertson, W.G., Time Was: Reminiscences, London, 1931.

Robinson [1892]
Robinson, R.W., Members and Associates of the Royal Academy of Arts, 1891. Photographed in their Studios by Ralph W. Robinson of Redhill, n.p., [1892].

Spielmann 1911
Spielmann, I., comp., Souvenir of the British Section, International Fine Arts Exhibition, (Rome), London, 1911.

Stephens 1884
Stephens, F.G., ed., Artists at Home. Photographed by J.P. Mayall and reproduced in facsimile…, 6 parts, London, 1884.

Swanson 1977
Swanson, V.G., Sir Lawrence Alma-Tadema: Painter of the Victorian Vision of the Ancient World, London, 1977.

Taylor 1987
Taylor, I., Victorian Sisters, London, 1987.

Ward 1926
Ward, H., History of the Athenaeum, 1824–1925, London, 1926.