The Encyclopedia Americana (1920)/Knight, Richard Payne

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KNIGHT, Richard Payne, English numismatist and archæologist: b. Wormsley Grange, near Ludlow, Herefordshire, 1750; d. London, 23 April 1824. Having been bequeathed a fortune, he traveled extensively, and wherever he went, especially in Italy, where he was in 1767, 1777 and 1785, he made a specialty of collecting ancient coins, bronzes, gems, drawings and other antiques. From 1780 to 1806 he was a member of Parliament and for 10 years, 1814-24, served as one of the trustees of the British Museum, to which, upon his death, he left his magnificent archæological collection, especially rich in bronzes and Greek coins. The trustees in 1830 published his manuscript catalogue of his coin collection. His works, which were numerous, included ‘An Account of the Remains of the Worship of Priapus lately existing at Isernia in the Kingdom of Naples’ (1786); ‘Analytical Essay on the Greek Alphabet’ (1791); ‘An Inquiry into the Symbolic Language of Ancient Art and Mythology’ (London 1818); ‘Analytical Inquiry into the Principles of Taste’ (1805), etc. He also published several volumes of poems and an edition of Homer (1808). Consult Edwards, E., ‘Lives of the Founders of the British Museum, etc.’ (Vol. I, London 1870).