George Howard, artist and aristocrat, was a notable patron of the Pre-Raphaelite circle. Phillip Webb designed his house at No. 1 Palace Green in the late 1860s and William Morris and Edward Burne-Jones decorated it. He was a close friend of Giovanni Costa and bought many of his major works. These are still in the collection at Castle Howard. George Howard's own oil and watercolour landscapes of British and Italian scenes display the stylistic characteristics of the 'Etruscan' group of which he was an associate.
His background dictated that he should be educated at Eton and Cambridge, but he wished only to become an artist. After his marriage to Rosalind Stanley in 1864, he formed friendships with Watts, Prinsep, Leighton and Burne-Jones, and began his artistic training at Leigh's private art school and under Alphonse Legros. He met Costa in 1866 on his first visit to Italy and painted alongside him, an experience crucial to the development of his artistic technique. and vision. He began to exhibit at the Dudley Gallery in 1867 and also showed at the Grosvenor Gallery and New Galleries.
He was Liberal Member of Parliament for East Cumberland between 1879 and 1880 and again between 1881 and 1885, and succeeded to the title of Earl of Carlisle in 1889, on the death of his uncle. However the only role in public life he cared for was that of National Gallery Trustee, a duty he performed for over thirty years.
George Howard was gentle and unassuming, left the administration of the Howard estates to his formidable wife, and concentrated on painting. He travelled extensively for his art and health, to Italy, Germany, India, Egypt, Trinidad, Algiers, Amalfi and South Africa. A recent biography is by Virginia Surtees, The Artist and the Autocrat. George and Rosalind Howard, Earl and Countess of Carlisle. His work was represented in the Etruscan School exhibition held in 1989 at York Art Gallery, Leighton House, London and Stoke on Trent Museum and Art Gallery. — Hilary Morgan
The Fine Art Society Story. Part I. London: The Fine Art Society, 2001.
Morgan, Hilary, and Peter Nahum. Burne-Jones, the Pre-Raphaelites, and Their Century. London: Peter Nahum, 1989.
Last modified 2001