Dr John Orde Poynton AO, CMG, MA (Cantab.), MD (Cantab.), LLD (Hon) (Melb.)
Dr John Orde Poynton (1906-2001) was born on the 9th April 1906 in London of a wealthy family. He was educated at Marlborough College, and Cambridge University (Gonville and Caius College) where he trained as a medical doctor, but was also a student of the economist, John Maynard Keynes.
After a position as Senior Resident Medical Officer at the Charing Cross Hospital, Dr Poynton travelled the world before taking up a post in the Federated Malay States. During the Second World War, he was captured at the fall of Singapore and became a prisoner of war in Changi Prison.
After the war, he moved to Australia and lived in Adelaide where he was Lecturer at the University Medical School (1947-1962) and Director of the Institute of Medical and Veterinary Science (1950-1961).
Dr Orde Poynton has been described by the National Gallery of Australia as 'a remarkable if somewhat mysterious man'. Following his retirement in 1961, he moved to Melbourne and became a consulting bibliographer to the University of Melbourne. He donated some 15,000 rare books and nearly 4,000 prints to it.
Orde Poynton's generous benefaction for the acquisition of international prints, drawings and illustrated books at the National Gallery of Australia enabled the Gallery to buy rich collections of some 700 exemplary works by masters including William Morris, Pablo Picasso, Henri Matisse, David Hockney, Frank Stella, and some of the Japanese woodblock prints seen in the exhibition 'Monet & Japan'.
Dr Poynton died in 2001 and established 'The Poynton Bequest' the net income of which is shared between the National Gallery of Australia and the Cambridge Commonwealth Trust in Australia (now Cambridge Australia Scholarships).
For more information see, http://nga.gov.au/AboutUs/press/poynton.cfm and http://www.unimelb.edu.au/culturalcollections/research/collections2/kiernan.pdf