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Knight, Charles Parsons

Charles Parsons Knight (1829 –1897) was born in Bristol, the fifth son of the Rev. Canon Knight, rector of Saint Michael's. He was educated by his father, who was a scholar, and the friend of the artists and literary men of Bristol: George Cumberland, Sr., the Rev. John Eagles, John Bird, R.A., and others.

As a boy Charles Knight loved and drew the shipping of the old Port of Bristol. He entered Messrs. Green's service as a midshipman, but after one voyage to Calcutta and back he gave up the profession. However, this experience strengthened his love of the sea as a subject for art. He then pursued art studies under no regular master but drew and painted in the Bristol Academy (where he was later elected a member).

His first works were studies of scenery in Somerset and Devon. He first exhibited in London, at the Suffolk Street Galleries, in 1853, a picture called “The Mumbles Head, Glamorganshire.” His first contribution to the Royal Academy was “Durham from the North,” in 1857. This was succeeded by “A Bit of Riverside,” in 1858. “The Stone Walls of Old England - Speeton Cliffs, Yorkshire” in 1861, was a noted work.

Altogether, he exhibited some 34 works at the Royal Academy between 1857 and 1895. He also exhibited at the Royal Institute of Oil Painters, Bristol Academy, Manchester City Art Gallery, New Gallery and Walker Art Gallery.

His use of meticulous detail and clear, bright light in his landscapes show the influence of the Pre-Raphaelite painters, such as John Brett. His pictures evolved from ships (noted for the drawing of rigging and hulls of ships) to shore and he became a successful coastal painter, mostly views of the coast, waves, and the study of cloud and light effects.

His work can be seen at the Tate Gallery, London and in galleries in Norwich and Bath.


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