WILLIAM HENRY KNIGHT
“The Evening Paper”
A very well painted oil on panel painting by British artist William Henry Knight (1823-1863) entitled “The Evening Paper”. It depicts an elderly man smoking a pipe whilst reading his paper.
Frame: Painting is presented in a swept giltwood frame.
Signature: Lower left and dated 1862.
Provenance: Christie’s, London, 03 Nov 1989, Lot #53. Beaton Brown Fine Paintings, London (label verso). UK private collection.
Condition: Painting and frame are both in excellent condition.
Measurements: Painting measures 30 x 25cm and the overall frame 41 x 36cm.
Biography: William Henry Knight was born in Newbury, Berkshire where his father, John Knight, was a schoolmaster. He was to become a solicitor, but gave up his law studies after two of his paintings were accepted by the annual exhibition of the Society of British Artists.
He moved to London in 1855, taking lodgings in Kennington Road, Lambeth, and supporting himself by drawing crayon portraits while studying in the British Museum and in the schools of the Royal Academy.
Following in the footsteps of William Mulready, he became a genre painter, his street scenes and interior scenes often showing children at play. His first contribution to the Royal Academy exhibition was Boys playing draughts in 1846; from that year until 1862 he was a constant exhibitor there. He also showed many pictures at the British Institution.
Many engravings were made from his works. In his 1855 Academy notes, John Ruskin wrote about The broken window: “This picture does not catch the eye at a distance, but, on looking close, there will be found exquisite and careful painting in it.”
Knight died on 31 July 1863, leaving a widow and six children.