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Design for the architecture for ‘The visit of the the Queen of Sheba to King Solomon’



Sir Edward John Poynter


20 Mar 1836 – 26 Jul 1919

No image
  • Details

    Media category
    Materials used
    35.7 x 49.5 cm
    Signature & date

    Not signed. Not dated.

    Purchased with funds provided by the European Art Collection Benefactors 2023
    Not on display
    Accession number
    Artist information
    Sir Edward John Poynter

    Works in the collection


  • About

    Poynter was an academic painter of the highest order who followed in the footsteps of his colleague Frederic Leighton in upholding the ideals of the classical tradition. Poynter based his working methods on the practice of the painters of the Italian Renaissance: he prepared his compositions scrupulously, making exhaustive preparatory drawings from the life model, as well as head and detail studies. He habitually began a project with studies of the nude figure to stablish the underlying form and structure of the body before proceeding to drapery studies. Even secondary figures had to be carefully worked out on paper according to pose and expression.
    Remarkably, only two architectural designs are known today that relate to King Solomon’s palace in 'The visit of the Queen of Sheba to King Solomon'. By contrast with the dozens and dozens of figure studies in black and white chalk that Poynter made for his epic canvas, he appears to have produced far fewer drawings when conceiving Solomon’s temple (or perhaps the sheets were destroyed). Given that there was no archaeological evidence to indicate the appearance of Solomon’s temple in Jerusalem (built around 950 BC), Poynter’s grandiose rendition was in itself an extraordinary feat of historical and imaginative reconstruction. In order to paint the temple Poynter had a large model made like a miniature theatre, bringing together various architectural and decorative features. This working drawing, with its numerous pencil inscriptions and colour notes, was probably the basis for the building model.

  • Exhibition history

    Shown in 1 exhibition

    • Victorian Olympians, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 20 Jun 1975–20 Jul 1975

      Victorian Olympians, National Gallery of Victoria [St Kilda Road], Melbourne, 12 Aug 1975–14 Sep 1975

      Victorian Olympians, Art Gallery of South Australia, Adelaide, 26 Sep 1975–26 Oct 1975

  • Bibliography

    Referenced in 1 publication

Other works by Sir Edward John Poynter

See all 27 works