Painting, Charles Knight, 1874

Painting, Charles Knight, 1874

Museum ID: WNDRB : 2004.2.1

Framed watercolour memorial portrait of Charles Knight, (junior) by friend John Collingham Moore. The painting is signed J.C. Moore 1874 - see note. One of a pair, the other painting is of his wife Sally Knight. Charles Knight was a printer, journalist, editor, writer, publisher and philanthropist, Born in Windsor, co-founder with his father Charles Knight (senior) of the Windsor and Eton Express Newspaper. Charles was born 1791 and died 1873. This painting was likely to have been painted prior to Knight's death in 1873 and with the lettering added afterwards, hence the date of 1874. The artist has produced a remarkable likeness of this couple who he was friends with. Memorial portraits were commonly painted towards the end of a person's life. The pair of paintings were purchased by the Friends of Windsor & Royal Borough Museum in 2004 and donated to the museum collection. Charles Knight senior and his son Charles Knight junior were two of Windsor’s most important men. As a boy Charles Knight junior lived above his father's bookshop opposite Windsor Castle. On leaving school he was indentured as an apprentice to his father to work in bookselling and publishing. In August 1812 together with his father he founded the Windsor and Eton Express, which is still published today. He married well and moved to London where he numbered among his friends, Charles Dickens, George Cruikshank, Wilkie Collins, Lord Brougham and Rowland Hill who began the Penny Post. He became editor and publisher for the Society for the Diffusion of Useful Knowledge. From 1832 the society published the Penny Magazine and other weeklies, and later the Penny Cyclopedia, which were designed to enable the working classes to have access to high quality articles and illustrations. He was the first to suggest that there should be free public libraries for all. Many visitors will have treasured his Guide to Windsor first published in 1811, and thousands of people across Britain and beyond will have read his editions of Shakespeare, including his finely illustrated pictorial editions. He died in 1873 aged 81 and is buried in the family vault in Bachelors Acre, Windsor having achieved his ambition to bring good literature within the reach of all.

Measurements: 530 x 440


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