Joseph Milner KITE

1862—1945

The artist was born (11 October) in Taunton, Devon, the son of a local chemist and his wife. After reaching his majority, he worked in a London studio for a brief period under William P Frith, before leaving England to study in Antwerp (1881) and then in 1883 he continued his studies at the Academie Julian in Paris, under Bouguereau and Laurens. After visiting Normandy and Pont Aven with the Irish painter Roderic O'Conor, he returned in 1891 to the Academie Julian to study with Lefebvre and Benjamin Constant. Tovey, in his research summary (unpublished) states that from 1900 he regularly spent the winter in Concarneau, and visited the  artist colonies in Cornwall.  No dates have been discovered for these visits to St Ives or Newlyn, but a series of paintings of children on beaches are taken to be indicative of time spent in the county.

Between 1886 and 1908 he exhibited widely at the RA, RBA, RBSA, Liverpool, Manchester and the Paris Salon amongst other places where he worked.  The known venues where he worked included St Ives, Cornwall, Pont Aven, Concarneau, Grez-sur-Loing, Morocco, Spain and the USA.  In the USA, like a number of Cornish painters, he exhibited at the Carnegie Institute in Pittsburg, Pennsylvania (1905).

Milner Kite died on 5 July 1945, having survived two world wars, at Millau, Aveyron, South of France at the age of 82. The Milner Kite Scholarship, set up posthumously by his brother and shared between the Royal College of Art and the Slade School, enables one student each summer to study in France.