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  • Object:


  • Place of origin:

    London (made)

  • Date:

    1870 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Poynter, Edward John (Sir), born 1836 - died 1919 (designer)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Drawing in pencil and watercolour on paper

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    Prints & Drawings Study Room, level E, case NN, shelf 3

Edward Poynter was a painter and a good draughtsman. The South Kensington Museum (now the V&A) commissioned him to provide designs for large figure panels and other decorations for the Dutch Kitchen or Grill Room (this is now called the Poynter Room). His lively drawing of the human figure gives a sense of life and movement to the conventional series of the Twelve Months. Students in the women's section of the School of Design at South Kensington painted the tile panels.

The Refreshment Rooms were opened during 1868. They consisted of three rooms: the central room, now known as the Gamble Room, which has a semi-circular northern side, following the plan of the Lecture Theatre above it; and a smaller, square room on either side, the Green Dining Room to the west and the Grill Room to the east. Poynter designed the whole of this last room, now known as the Poynter Room.

Poynter was Director of the National Art Training School and women artists from the school painted his designs onto blank tiles supplied by Minton, the ceramic manufacturer. Henry Scott, a Royal Engineer officer employed on building the new Museum, compiled a list of the women he was employing as porcelain painters. They were Amy E. Black, Miss Walker, Miss Judd, Miss Earle, Miss Hall, Miss Cambridge, who were all paid at the rate of 6d an hour, except Amy Black who received 9d.

Physical description

Drawing in pencil and watercolour on paper

Place of Origin

London (made)


1870 (made)


Poynter, Edward John (Sir), born 1836 - died 1919 (designer)

Materials and Techniques

Drawing in pencil and watercolour on paper

Marks and inscriptions


'18 EJP 70'
Monogram signature of Edward John Poynter within the date 1870.

Refers to the zodiac sign of Scorpio, represented by the image of a scorpion (shown underneath).


Height: 76.8 cm height of paper at greatest extent, Width: 48.5 cm width of paper at greatest extent

Object history note

Poynter was invited to tender for the decoration of the V&A Grill Room in November 1865. Judging from the nineteenth Report of the Science and Art Department, the Grill Room's large tile panels, derived from designs including this one, were all installed by the end of 1871. This particular design bears Poynter's monogram signature with the date 1870.

Descriptive line

E. J. Poynter, design for 1 of 12 tile panels of the months in V&A Grill Room: 'October'. 1870.

Bibliographic References (Citation, Note/Abstract, NAL no)

Nineteenth Report of the Science and Art Department. London: printed by George E. Eyre and William Spottiswoode for H.M.S.O., 1872, p. 388
Physick, John. The Victoria and Albert Museum: The History of Its Building. London: The Victoria & Albert Museum, 1982, pp. 139-141 and pls. XXVII-XXIX
Sheppard, F. H. W. (general ed.). Survey of London, vol. XXXVIII: The Museums Area of South Kensington and Westminster. London: Athlone Press, University of London, 1975, p. 111 and pl. 15
The Perfect Place to Grow. 175 Years of the Royal College of Art. London: RCA, 2012, p. 178. ISBN: 978-1-907342-51-6.

Subjects depicted

Tile panel; Personification


Tiles; History of the V&A; National Art Training School


Prints, Drawings & Paintings Collection

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