Sir Edward John Poynter (March 20, 1836 – July 26, 1919) was a British painter, designer, draughtsman and art administrator.
The son of Ambrose Poynter, an architect, Poynter was born in Paris. Poynter was educated at Brighton College before studying in London, in Rome (where he became a great admirer of Michelangelo).
The years 1856-59 as a student at Gleyre’s atelier in Paris(where he met James McNeill Whistler).. These semi-bohemian years were described by Poynter’s comrade George du Maurier in his novel Trilby. .
In 1860 Poynter commenced upon a career in London which was to bring him much prestige and many honours. Poynter became best known for his large historical paintings such as Israel in Egypt (1867, his first great success), Visit of the Queen of Sheba (1871–75) and King Solomon (1890).
Poynter held a number of official posts: he was the first Slade Professor from 1871 to 1875, was Principal of the National Art Training School from 1875 to 1881, was Director of the National Gallery from 1894 to 1904 (overseeing the opening of the Tate Gallery), and became a Royal Academician in 1876. On the death of Sir John Millais in 1896, Edward Poynter was elected President of the Royal Academy from 1896, and received a knighthood. Poynter was made a baronet in 1902.
Poynter married Agnes Macdonald whose sister Georgiana married Edward Burne-Jones.
Poynter'sa old school, Brighton College held an exhibition of Poynter’s paintings and drawings entitled “Life at Arms Length” in its Burstow Gallery in November-December 1995.