Edward John Poynter

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Sir Edward John Poynter, 1st Baronet (1836–1919) was an English painter, designer, and draughtsman, who served as President of the Royal Academy.

Poynter was the son of architect Ambrose Poynter. Born in Paris, France, though his parents returned to Britain soon after his birth. 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 in Newman Street 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 Poynter married the famous beauty Agnes MacDonald, daughter of the Rev. G. B. MacDonald of Wolverhampton, and they had three children.

He 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 and perhaps culminating with The visit of the Queen of Sheba to King Solomon (1884–1890; Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney). He was admitted as an associate of the Royal Academy in 1869