Sir Edward John Poynter, 1883 by Alexander Bassano. National Portrait Gallery, London
Edward John Poynter
Date: British painter, 1836–1919
Biography: Poynter’s artistic training began under the tutelage of the watercolor painter, Thomas Shotter Boys in 1852. After meeting Frederic Leighton in Rome in 1853 he decided to continue training at Leigh’s Academy. Enrolment at the Royal Academy Schools in 1855 was curtailed by his decision to train in Paris where he entered the studios of Charles Gleyre. While in Paris he met up with James McNeill Whistler, George Du Maurier, Thomas Lamont and Thomas Armstrong, all of whom were featured in Du Maurier’s popular novel, Trilby (1894). He exhibited his first work at the Royal Academy in 1861. He is best known for his classical and Egyptian subjects. In 1871 he was appointed the first Slade professor at University College London. He spent five years in this position and was particularly influential on a generation of young artists. Beginning in 1894 he served as Director of the National Gallery London. Two years later he was elected president of the Royal Academy.