Edward Killingworth Johnson

(30 May 1825 - 1896)

Born at Stratford-le-Bow, near London, 1825, he displayed a marked talent for art at an early age, but has never studied under any masters. For some years, however, he copied at the Langham Life School, and has drawn a great deal upon wood. He began painting as a profession about 1863. In 1866 he was elected an Associate of the Society of Painters in Water-Colors, and a full member in 1876. He resided in London until 1871, when he removed to a small ancestral property in North Essex, where his studio still is (1878). Among his more important works are, "The Anxious Mother" (Water-Color Exhibition in 1876, engraved in 1878, and purchased by Birket Foster), "The Reader" (exhibited in London, 1874, Birmingham, 1875, and owned by John Jaffray of the latter city), "A Golden Swarm" (1877), "The Rival Florists " (exhibited in New York in 1873, and belonging to G. B. Warren, Jr., of Troy, N. Y.), "A Peep into the Letter-Bag," and "Going to Bed" (1878). He sent "A Study" to the Philadelphia Exhibition of 1876, and "The Anxious Mother" to the Paris Exposition of 1878.

"'We can certainly characterize "The Rival Florists' as one of the most remarkable pictures of its kind ever brought to this country." -- New York Times, February 16, 1873.

"Killingworth Johnson's', "Intruders" [New York Water-Color Exhibition, 1876] has been received with expressions of the highest praise. The picture is open to criticism perhaps, owing to the absence of positive shadows, but its aim is so high and its motive so charming that it commands admiration in spite of any mere defect." -- Art Journal, March, 1876.

Mr. E. K. Johnson sends only one contribution to this exhibition, but in that he seems to have determined to concentrate all the beautiful color and delicacy and brilliancy characteristic of his work. "A Golden Swarm" takes us into a garden which is simply a blaze of flowers and sunlight. Of course the women are beautiful women, for Mr. Johnson does not admit the halt and the lame and the blind into these earthly paradises of his. The action of the female figure in the center of the picture is extremely graceful, and the child beside her is charming in attitude and expression." -- London Daily News, May 19, 1877.

Artists of the Nineteenth Century; their Works & Biographical Sketches. By Clara Erskine Clement and Laurence Hutton, 1879.

Artist's Wife Hannah "Summertime" Artist's Wife Hannah
"Skipping" Artist's Daughter Barbara 1877 Artist's Daughter Barbara by John Parker 1893
Richard, Barbara, Giles Alington Johnson "Johnson Theatrical" by Horace Harral 1850s

Edward Killingworth Johnson (30 May 1825-7 April 1896) was an English painter, formed from without a teacher as a painter and copied only older images with drawings on wood. The watercolor painting he only started in 1863, brought it but herein as quickly to significant achievements that he was a contemporary of the 1866 Society for watercolor painting and in 1876, a full member of the same. After he had lived until 1871, in London, he retired to his estate in northern Essex. Among his works that recall in the conception of design at Meissonier, are: "The Anxious Mother" (1874), "The Blumisten", "A Golden Swarm" (flower garden), "A Look at the Letter Bag" and "The Bedtime".


He is possibly best remembered today for executing the earliest illustrations for Haggard’s "She", serialized in The Graphic between October 1886, and January 1887. Johnson married Hannah Reynolds (b. 1851) in November 1871, and they had three children, Gyles Alington (b. 1872), Hannah Barbara (b.1875), and Richard Spencer Johnson (b. 1875).


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