Poynter, Sir Edward John:
English Classicist Painter, 1836-1919
English painter, draughtsman, decorative designer and museum official. He came from an artistic family: his great-grandfather was Thomas Banks the sculptor, and Ambrose Poynter, his father, was an architect and watercolour painter. Edward began studying art in 1852 under Thomas Shotter Boys, a friend of his father. In 1853-4 Poynter visited Rome, where he was greatly impressed by the large-scale academic painting of Frederic Leighton. Returning to London, he studied at Leigh's Academy and the studio of William Dobson (1817-1898). Poynter entered the Royal Academy Schools in 1855 but his admiration for French painting led him to Charles Gleyre's studio in Paris the following year. He remained there until 1859, with fellow students George Du Maurier, Thomas Armstrong and Whistler; their activities are described in Du Maurier's novel Trilby (1894). At this time Poynter received his first commissions for decorative work. He began designing stained glass and painting furniture and, after his return to England, he was employed by his friend the architect William Burges to decorate the ceiling of Waltham Abbey, Essex, in 1860.