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Edward Killingworth Johnson RWS (1825-1896)


Edward Killingworth Johnson, RWS (1825-1896)
 
Edward Killingworth Johnson was a Victorian wood engraver, illustrator, watercolourist and painter in oils, specialising in rural genre scenes. He gained much success during the 1860s as a regular contributor to The Illustrated London News and latterly The Graphic. He exhibited at the Royal Academy and the Society of Painters in Water Colours and throughout his life received much recognition in both his native England and in America with works such as Tuning Up and The Rival Florists.
 
Edward Killingworth Johnson was born in Stratford-Le-Bow, Essex, on 30 May 1825, to Richard Johnson, an Irish-born merchant, and his wife, Mary (née Meadows). He was born into an artistic family, his uncles being the marine artist, James Meadows, and the illustrator, John Masey Wright. The youngest of six surviving children, he was Richard and Mary’s only son to live to adulthood. During his early life, his family was based in London, but moved frequently. In 1832, Richard returned from a voyage to find that his wife, Mary, had tragically died of cholera, and he removed his young family to the ancestral seat of Baker’s Farm, Sible Hedingham, Essex. Three years later, Edward and his five siblings were orphaned when their father died.
 
At the age of ten, Johnson was then apprenticed to the wood engraver, John Orrin Smith. In 1841, the fifteen-year-old Johnson was living at Surbiton Common with his sisters, Jesse and Emma, which suggests that the apprenticeship had begun informally. In 1842, Smith went into partnership with William James Linton, and when Smith died in 1843, Johnson was employed by Linton.

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