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One of the leading Classical painters of his generation, Edward John Poynter (1836-1919) was elected President of the Royal Academy of Arts in December 1896, ‘in recognition of his experience and talents as an artist, educator and administrator’ (Alison Inglis’ entry on Poynter in The Oxford Dictionary of National Biography). He was knighted in the same year, and raised to the baronetcy in 1902.
Nibs based the head of his caricature on a photographic portrait, which was issued as a card with Ogden’s Guinea Gold Cigarettes in about 1902. By the time that the caricature was published in 1907, Poynter represented the old guard, having outlived most of his generation, and becoming the target of artistic progressives. However, his paintings still met with critical approval, and the halo-like sun or moon against which Nibs places Poynter is as likely to be appreciative as satirical.