Knight, William Henry (DNB00)


KNIGHT, WILLIAM HENRY (1823–1863), painter, was born on 26 Sept. 1823 at Newbury, Berkshire, where his father, John Knight, was a schoolmaster; he was articled to a solicitor in that town, but after having two pictures accepted by the Society of British Artists in 1844, abandoned the law, and in the following year came to London. He took lodgings in the Kennington Road, where he maintained himself by drawing crayon portraits while studying at the British Museum and in the schools of the Royal Academy. In 1846 he sent his first contribution to the Academy, ‘Boys playing at Draughts,’ which was purchased by Alderman Salomons, and from that year was a constant exhibitor; he also sent many pictures to the British Institution. Among his best works were ‘A Christmas Party preparing for Blind Man's Buff,’ 1850; ‘Boys Snowballing,’ 1853; ‘The Broken Window,’ 1855 (engraved in the ‘Art Journal,’ August 1865); ‘The Village School,’ 1857; ‘Knuckle Down,’ 1858; ‘The Lost Change,’ 1859; ‘An Unexpected Trump,’ 1861; and ‘The Counterfeit Coin,’ 1862. These titles indicate the character of Knight's art, which was limited to scenes of everyday life, with children prominently introduced. His pictures are of cabinet size, very delicately finished. He died on 31 July 1863, leaving a widow and six children.

[Art Journal, 1863, p. 133; Redgrave's Dict. of Artists; Royal Academy Catalogues.]

F. M. O'D.