Sir Edward John Poynter, 1st Baronet, PRA (20 March 1836 - 26 July 1919) was an English painter, designer, draughtsman and art administrator.
The son of Ambrose Poynter, an architect, he was born in Paris. He was educated at Ipswich School and Brighton College before studying in London, in Rome (where he became a great admirer of Michelangelo) and with Charles Gleyre in Paris (where he met James McNeill Whistler). He 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, Poynter was elected President of the Royal Academy from 1896, and received a knighthood in that year. He received an honorary degree from Cambridge University in 1898. He was made a baronet in 1902.
In 1866 Poynter married the famous beauty Agnes MacDonald, daughter of the Rev G B MacDonald of Wolverhampton, and they had three children. Her sister Georgiana married Edward Burne-Jones, the famous artist, her sister Alice was the mother of the poet and author Rudyard Kipling, and her sister Louisa was the mother of three-times-Prime Minister of the United Kingdom Stanley Baldwin.
His 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.
It appears from the subjects of his paintings (King Solomon and King Solomons Temple) and his association with Kipling that he was a Freemason. Prints of his painting "Visit of the Queen of Sheba" are to be found in many Masonic Lodges around the world.