Page:Dictionary of National Biography, Second Supplement, volume 2.djvu/426

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Knight
Knight
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of his pictures and engravings, and he was a member of the Royal Cambrian Academy. Knight exhibited from 1861 onward at various London galleries, contributing to the Royal Academy for the first time in 1869. He was elected in 1882 a member of the Royal Institute of Painters in Water Colours and an associate of the Society of Painter Etchers, of which he became a fellow on 13 April 1883. From 1883 to 1908 he sent 104 original mezzotint engravings, varied occasionally by etchings, to the exhibitions of the Painter Etchers; his work was rather monotonous and lacking in expression. He is represented as a painter in the Tate Gallery (Chantrey bequest), Victoria and Albert Museum, the City Art Gallery and Peel Park Gallery, Manchester, the Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool, and at Oldham; some engravings are in the British Museum. He died at Bryn Glas, near Conway, on 2 Jan. 1909. In 1859 he married Elizabeth Radford of Manchester, who survived him.

[Graves, Dict. of Artists and Royal Acad. Exhibitors, iv. 346; The Times, 6 and 11 Jan. 1909; private information.]

C. D.


KNIGHT, JOSEPH (1829–1907), dramatic critic, born at Leeds on 24 May 1829, was elder son of Joseph Knight, cloth merchant, who was a native of Carlisle. His mother, Marianne daughter of Joseph Wheelwright, became blind in middle life but lived to the age of seventy-three. Educated at a private boarding school, Bramham College, near Tadcaster, Knight early showed a taste for poetry and rose to be head of the school. In 1848 a promising poem by him, 'The Sea by Moonlight,' was printed at Sheffield by the headmaster for circulation among his pupils' parents.

Joining his father in business at nineteen, he devoted his leisure to literature, collecting and reading books, and taking a prominent part in the literary activities of Leeds. Elizabethan and early French poetry especially moved his youthful enthusiasm, and he never lost his admiration for the work of Drayton, Wither, and Ronsard. With his fellow-townsman, Mr. Alfred Austin, afterwards poet laureate (his junior by six years), he helped to found a Mechanics' Institute at Leeds, at which he lectured on literary subjects. On 7 April 1854 he lectured on 'The Fairies of English Poetry' before the Leeds Philosophical and Literary Society. At Leeds, too, he made the acquaintance of William Edward Forster [q. v.], who stayed at Knight's house while he was parliamentary candidate for the constituency in 1859. Knight seconded Forster's nomination.

In 1860 Knight adventurously abandoned a business career in Leeds for journalistic life in London. He found early employment as dramatic critic for the 'Literary Gazette,' through a chance meeting with the editor, Mr. John (afterwards Viscount) Morley. Thenceforth he largely occupied himself in writing of the contemporary stage. In 1869 he succeeded John Abraham Heraud [q. v.] as dramatic critic of the 'Athenæum,' and he retained that post till his death. In 1871, during the siege of Paris, he used his influence to secure the invitation to the Comedie Française to act at the Gaiety Theatre in London. He also acted as dramatic critic for the 'Sunday Times,' the 'Globe,' and for the 'Daily Graphic' from 1894 to 1906. But Knight's dramatic interests always ranged far beyond the contemporary theatre. He was thoroughly well versed in dramatic history, and from 1883 to the close of the first supplement in 1901 Knight was the chief contributor of the lives of actors and actresses to this Dictionary. His articles numbered over 500. On the notice of Garrick in these pages he based an independent memoir which appeared in 1894.

Knight's social charm, handsome presence, courteous bearing, and fine literary taste made him welcome in literary and dramatic circles from his first arrival in London. His early associates there included John Westland Marston [q. v.] and Sebastian Evans [q. v. Suppl. II], to both of whom he owed counsel and encouragement. At Marston's house he met leading authors and playwrights. Thomas Purnell [q. v.], a Bohemian journalist, introduced him to Swinburne, and with that poet and with Swinburne's friend, Dante Gabriel Rossetti, he was long on terms of intimacy. Rossetti valued Knight's discernment in poetical and other matters and liked his manly geniality (cf. W. M. Rossetti's Life of D. G. Rossetti). One of Dante Rossetti's last letters was addressed to Knight (5 March 1882), and in 1887 Knight published a sympathetic and discriminating 'Life of Rossetti' in the 'Great Writers' series.

Knight found varied opportunities of proving his literary knowledge. He contributed the causerie signed 'Sylvanus Urban' to the 'Gentleman's Magazine' from 1887 till near his death, and he was a reviewer of general literature for the 'Athenæum.' In July 1883, on the death of Henry Frederick Turle [q. v.], he became editor