Frederick Howard, 5th Earl of Carlisle as a collector of contemporary British Art

Essay by Martin Postle

From the 1770s until the early decades of the nineteenth century Frederick Howard, 5th Earl of Carlisle, was conspicuous as among the most active patrons of contemporary British art, as well as an avid collector of European old-master paintings. Over a period of forty years he purchased works by Reynolds, Gainsborough, Zoffany, Wheatley, Stubbs and Hoppner, as well as patronising less well-known contemporary artists such as William Westall and John Jackson. The trajectory of his collecting was, however, far from straightforward and was allied to a whole range of factors, including the continuing development of Castle Howard as a repository for art, the role of the 5th Earl’s aesthetic mentors, marked fluctuations in his income, his political affiliations, his public role in later life as an arbiter of taste and even his personal ambitions as a writer and playwright. Through a selective examination of various strands of his patronage, this study seeks to investigate the characteristics of the 5th Earl as a collector of contemporary British art, during a crucial phase in the evolution of an identifiable British School of art.

The Early Years, c.1758–c.1773

Frederick Howard (1748–1825), Viscount Morpeth, succeeded to the earldom at the age of ten, on the death of his father, Henry, 4th Earl of Carlisle, on 3 September 1758. In addition to his development of Castle Howard, the 4th Earl had been an avid collector of art, notably of ancient sculpture and contemporary Venetian views by Canaletto, Bellotto and Marieschi, which he acquired as a result of his second Grand Tour in the late 1730s. Frederick, who was schooled at Eton College and briefly at King’s College, Cambridge, gravitated in his teens towards the circle of his school friend Charles James Fox and thereafter formed a close social and political bond with prominent affiliates of the Whig cause, as well as the gambling fraternity at White’s Club, and the Dilettanti Society, of which he became a member in 1767. Due to the early death of his father, and in the absence of a male role model from his own family, Lord Carlisle, then living in Carlisle House, Soho, with his widowed mother and step-father, Sir William Musgrave, formed a close bond with George Selwyn, whose reputation as a wit with an unhealthy taste for necrophilia eclipsed his public role as a politician and prominent member of the landed gentry.

In 1766 Lord Carlisle accompanied Selwyn on a trip to Paris and it was the following year, under Selwyn’s unconventional mentorship, that Lord Carlisle embarked on his own Grand Tour, travelling for six months in France, followed by a year in Italy. Despite his disdain for ‘foreigners’, Lord Carlisle was attentive to the art and antiquities he encountered. In the cupola of the cathedral in Piacenza, decorated with frecoes by Guercino, he observed ‘an angel very like ----- : I am sure Reynolds must have taken the idea of his picture from it’.1 The resemblance in question was to Lady Sarah Bunbury, with whom Lord Carlisle was then infatuated, and the picture by Reynolds was presumably the portrait of Lady Bunbury, which Reynolds had exhibited at the Society of Artists in 1765.2 Among the old-master paintings he acquired for himself were works by Jacopo Bassano, Titian and Tintoretto.3 Lord Carlisle also made at least two purchases from contemporary artists: a portrait, which he commissioned in Paris from Jean-Baptiste Greuze and, in Rome, his marble bust by Joseph Nollekens, informing Selwyn that ‘the man assures me it will be very like’.4

It was following his return from Italy in December 1768 that Lord Carlisle began to collect seriously, both old masters and contemporary British art. In this endeavour the most important influence on his taste and purchasing was undoubtedly Joshua Reynolds, who at that time had just been elected first president of the Royal Academy and had already established a reputation as among the leading taste-makers in the country, and a collector of discernment. Reynolds had known Lord Carlisle since his boyhood, having painted his portrait in 1758, in Van Dyck dress (fig. 1). The commission coincided with the death of Lord Carlisle’s father, which may explain why the portrait was not paid for and dispatched to Castle Howard until the spring of 1764.5 A few years later, in 1767, Reynolds once more painted Lord Carlisle’s portrait.6 There, over his silk doublet he wears a fur-lined cloak of the kind often sported by Grand Tourists, indicating perhaps that it was made with the prospect of his continental sojourn in mind, as well as in acknowledgement of his status as burgeoning patron and connoisseur.

Lord Carlisle in Van Dyck dress

Figure 1.
Joshua Reynolds, Lord Carlisle in Van Dyck dress, 1758. Oil on canvas, 173 × 151 cm. Castle Howard.

Digital image courtesy of Castle Howard. (All rights reserved)

While Lord Carlisle was already acquainted with Reynolds, he was presumably encouraged to offer him further patronage by Selwyn who, having sat to Reynolds for his portrait in 1766, now sat to him once more in a double portrait with Lord Carlisle (fig. 2).7 As in the earlier portrait, Selwyn is accompanied by his pug dog, Raton, while the books strewn on the table before the seated figures, and the paper in Lord Carlisle’s hand – together with the green ribbon and star of the Order of the Thistle across his chest – indicate his statesmanlike demeanour. By the time the present portrait was under way, Lord Carlisle had already sat to Reynolds for a full-length portrait, where he wears the robes and insignia of the Order of the Thistle, with which he had been invested while in Turin in 1768 (fig. 3). Sittings for the portrait, which is the subject of a separate essay in the present case study, began in May 1769.8 The following year Lord Carlisle also commissioned from Reynolds a three-quarter-length portrait of his new wife, Margaret Caroline, Countess of Carlisle, daughter of the 2nd Earl Gower, the future Marquess of Stafford.9 Although a mezzotint engraving of the portrait of Lady Carlisle was published in 1773, neither the original portrait nor the full-length portrait of Lord Carlisle was paid for and consigned by Reynolds to the owner until 1775, for reasons to be discussed in the course of this essay.10

Frederick Howard, 5th Earl of Carlisle and George Augustus Selwyn

Figure 2.
Joshua Reynolds, Frederick Howard, 5th Earl of Carlisle and George Augustus Selwyn, circa 1770. Oil on canvas, 151 × 177 cm. Castle Howard.

Digital image courtesy of Castle Howard. (All rights reserved)

1769. Oil on canvas, 240 × 147.5 cm. Tate (T14646).

Figure 3.
Joshua Reynolds, Lord Carlisle full length wearing the robes and insignia of the Order of the Thistle, 1769. Oil on canvas, 240 × 147.5 cm. Tate (T14646).

Digital image courtesy of Tate. (CC-BY-NC-ND 3.0)

The flurry of portrait commissions extended to Reynolds by the young Lord Carlisle was just one aspect of the financial and artistic relationship which was then developing between the two men. And while Lord Carlisle had held back on making extensive purchases of old masters while in Europe, he now set about the acquisition of works with alacrity, with Reynolds acting as vendor. As the painter noted in his sales ledger, sometime between the end of 1769 and June 1770 Lord Carlisle had paid him nearly £800 for pictures, including £300 for one painting alone by Rubens, Herodias and Salome with the Head of John the Baptist.11 In 1770 Lord Carlisle also purchased from Reynolds a painting by the contemporary German artist Johan Zoffany, David Garrick with Edmund Burton and John Palmer in ‘The Alchymist’ (fig. 4). Zoffany’s picture was received with enthusiasm during its exhibition at the Royal Academy in the spring of 1770, Horace Walpole declaring it to be ‘one of the best pictures ever done by this Genius’.12 According to a contemporary account, the picture was purchased immediately by Reynolds for one hundred guineas, only for Lord Carlisle to offer him an extra twenty guineas to part with it. Reynolds, who refused the offer, ‘resigned his intended purchase to the Lord, and the emolument to his brother artist’.13 Lord Carlisle was clearly delighted with his new acquisition, a print after which was published the following year by the leading mezzotint engraver, John Dixon, together with the requisite acknowledgement to the owner: ‘To Fredk Howard Earl of Carlisle Vict. Morpeth/ This Plate is humbly Inscribed by his Lordships Obedt Servt, John Dixon’.14

1770. Oil on canvas, 104 × 99 cm. Private Collection.

Figure 4.
Johan Zoffany, David Garrick with Edmund Burton and John Palmer in 'The Alchemist', 1770. Oil on canvas, 104 × 99 cm. Private Collection.

Digital image courtesy of Bridgeman Art Library. (All rights reserved)

Lord Carlisle’s interest in Zoffany’s painting of a contemporary theatre performance by the country’s leading actor may have been motivated not only by his admiration for Garrick but also by the influence on the painting of the art of the seventeenth-century Dutch artist David Teniers. As Lord Carlisle noted in a letter to Lady Carlisle in the spring of 1772 during a visit to Paris, he had a particular admiration for Dutch art, even more than the revered Italian old masters.15 With regard to the same visit, Reynolds reported to his friend Thomas Robinson, Baron Grantham (then ambassador in Madrid): ‘Lord Carlile is grown a furious Dilettanti tho he never comes to the society he buys every thing that he thinks excellent and indeed has bought some very fine ones. He is now in Paris and gone it is said purposely to buy the Duc d’Choiseul’s collection of Pictures which are entirely of the Flemish School.’16 In the event, as he expressed in his letter to his wife, Lord Carlisle did not buy any pictures during the visit. However, between February 1770 and the trip to Paris he had been buying old masters in quantity, and at considerable expense, at Christie’s auction house in London. Among his most prestigious purchases was Guercino’s Erminia finding the Wounded Tancred, from the collection of the Comte de Lauraguais.17 The majority of his purchases were, however, by seventeenth-century artists of the Dutch and Flemish Schools.18 As he had informed Selwyn some years earlier, in the course of his Grand Tour, his aspiration as a collector was eventually to furnish the partially constructed west wing at Castle Howard with pictures.19 And it was in 1772, when the west wing was still incomplete, that he commissioned four views of Castle Howard from William Marlow (fig. 5), who had established himself as a specialist in country estate portraiture.20

View of Castle Howard from the South Front

Figure 5.
William Marlow, View of Castle Howard from the South Front, circa 1780. Oil on canvas, 96.5 × 151 cm. Castle Howard.

Digital image courtesy of Mary Evans Picture Library/Castle Howard Collection (10239442). (All rights reserved)

By the early 1770s, in part owing to his conspicuous consumption of old-master paintings, the Earl of Carlisle was rapidly becoming associated with the younger generation of ‘progressive’ Whig aristocrats, who prided themselves on their connoisseurship and espousal of liberal values. As well as sharing a political creed, a number of these individuals – including John Frederick Sackville, 3rd Duke of Dorset, Charles Manners, 4th Duke of Rutland, and George Spencer, 4th Duke of Marlborough – formed an informal coterie around Reynolds, who was in the process of positioning himself as a leading arbiter of taste and intellectual artistic values through his elevated position as the president of the Royal Academy and his Discourses on art. Lord Carlisle, alongside other aristocratic acolytes, made a habit of attending Reynolds’s annual presentation of the Discourses. However, in common with most of the audience, he had trouble in hearing what was said. Following one lecture he approached Reynolds: ‘“Sir Joshua, you read your discourse in so low a tone that I did not distinguish one word you said.” To which the president, with a smile replied, “That was to my advantage”’.21

By this time Reynolds was intent on establishing a reputation as a practitioner of high art as well as a commentator on it. To this end, in 1771 he began work on his first history painting, Ugolino and his Children in the Dungeon, based on an episode from Dante’s Divine Comedy, which he exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1773 and which was purchased by the Duke of Dorset for £400, a sum of money more usually associated with old-master purchases. The subject of Reynolds’s picture, it has been suggested, had a contemporary political dimension in the association between the ‘liberty loving’ medieval Italian Count Ugolino, oppressed by the Church, and the liberally minded Whigs, who as the country’s natural leaders were denied their rights by the Tory government of George III.22 It was with Reynolds’s painting in mind that in 1773 Lord Carlisle made his first public literary foray, an English verse translation of the relevant passage from Dante, which he distributed privately in an edition of his poems and publicly in the Annual Register, presumably to coincide with the exhibition of Reynolds’s picture at the Royal Academy.23

By 1773 Lord Carlisle’s profile as an up and coming patron and connoisseur appeared secure. That year he commissioned an equestrian painting from George Stubbs, William Shutt, the 5th Earl of Carlisle’s Groom, riding his Master’s Favourite Chestnut (fig. 6).24 While Lord Carlisle was not involved directly with horses as a breeder, he was closely associated with leading Whig aristocrats, such as the Marquess of Rockingham and the Duke of Portland, who operated major studs and who were also prominent among Stubbs’s aristocratic patrons. As a result, he no doubt felt that the acquisition of a portrait of his favourite horse and groom was a suitable addition to his portfolio of contemporary art. And while he did not breed horses, Lord Carlisle clearly enjoyed the thrill of horse-racing, and was deeply immersed in the betting culture that was bound up inextricably with the sport, not least through the influence of his old school friend, Charles James Fox. And it was in large measure due to the financing of Fox’s huge gambling debts, incurred at the racetrack and the gambling tables – as well as his own betting foibles – that Lord Carlisle’s finances hit the buffers in the mid-1770s. As he reported to Selwyn in 1776, he had in the course of a single night gambled away £10,000, conceding to him: ‘I have undone myself, and it is to no purpose to conceal from you my abominable madness and folly, though perhaps the particulars may not be known to the rest of the world’.25

The 5th Earl of Carlisle's Groom, William Shutt

Figure 6.
George Stubbs, The 5th Earl of Carlisle's Groom, William Shutt, 1773. Oil on mahogany panel, 82.5 × 102.3 cm. Castle Howard.

Digital image courtesy of Pictures Now / Alamy Stock Photo. (All rights reserved)

It was as a result of his massive debts that Lord Carlisle was compelled to move temporarily from his house at 25 St James’s Place, which he had taken on in 1769 following the death of its owner, Lady Hervey.26 Despite its pleasant aspect, overlooking Green Park, he made the decision to quit the ‘cursed air of London’ in favour of his Yorkshire estates.27 Among his creditors was Reynolds, who had yet to be paid for the portraits Lord Carlisle had commissioned from him on his return from Italy, including the grand full-length portrait. The first hint that all was not well came in a letter to Selwyn from Lord Carlisle at Castle Howard, dated 13 October 1775, telling him that Reynolds had written to say that he had sent the pictures to Castle Howard. He continues:

This gives me some uneasiness, for, as well as I remember, he was one of those who were to wait. I was in hopes that the pictures might have remained till it was more convenient to take them out of his hands. What is to be done I know not, but I am sure you will agree with me it is an awkward circumstance. Has he had any orders to finish them? I have been very guarded since the commencement of this business, and have given no directions whatever of that nature.28

A few days later Selwyn responded:

The debt to Sir Jos[hua] Reynolds does not weigh much with me; we know that it was contracted long ago, and as to appearances I think they are better served by the pictures being in your own house than in his. He seems a good natured man. You know that cette qualité je l’ai mise à l’épreuve. He must be sure of his money, and cannot want it immediately; he knows also that your affairs are derangées pour le moment. I hope that if he puts any false colours on your conduct towards him, that they will be like all his other colours, of a very short duration. But I think he will not. Therefore, my dear Lord, do not represent to yourself things more disagreeable than they really are. You ask, if he had any other orders to finish these pictures? None that I know of, but perhaps he took that for granted.29

Selwyn’s reassuring reply could not, however, prevent the pictures from reaching Castle Howard; or the inevitable request for payment.30 There is, however, a curious postscript to the affair, as set out in a subsequent letter from Reynolds to Lord Carlisle in early November. Here, Reynolds tells him that he is ‘extremely sorry for the accident which has happened to the Whole-length picture’ of Lord Carlisle. Apparently, a stretcher bar supporting the canvas had come loose in transit and the only remedy, he suggests, is to line the picture, ‘pasting it on another strong canvass, and if it were full of Holes they will not be perceiv’d’. He advises Lord Carlisle to send the canvas back to him rolled up, so that he might ‘restore it to its original’.31 Precisely when and how the accident occurred is not known.

In the course of recent conservation, as discussed by Helen Brett, Martin Myrone, and Mark Searle in the present case study, it became clear that the portrait had indeed sustained damage at an early stage and evidently underwent remedial treatment by Reynolds. However, problems persisted. Sometime in the early 1800s, Reynolds’s former studio assistant James Northcote saw it in the studio of the artist John Jackson, who was then in the employment of Lord Carlisle.32 ‘It was’, noted Northcote, ‘in a shameful state; it was cracked and faded from the varnishes and nostrums which Sir Joshua can never be without’. Yet, he conceded, ‘it had grace, and simplicity, and beautiful arrangement’.33

It has been estimated that by 1775 Lord Carlisle was around £290,000 in debt, two thirds of which was his personal responsibility. As a result his estates were put in the hands of trustees and he was given an allowance of £4000 per annum.34 Although this still constituted a considerable income, Lord Carlisle was no longer in a position to lavish money on art purchases or contemporary artists. An exception, in every sense, was the portrait he commissioned from Reynolds of his seven-year-old daughter, Lady Caroline Howard (fig. 7), a picture which counts among the artist’s most accomplished images of childhood.35 Certainly, Reynolds was pleased with the result, for a print by the leading mezzotint engraver, Valentine Green, was published in December 1778, while Reynolds exhibited the original painting at the Royal Academy the following year. It is not known when Lord Carlisle took delivery of the picture but it was probably in 1783, when Reynolds recorded in his sale ledger a payment of seventy-three pounds.36

1778. Oil on canvas, 143 × 113 cm. National Gallery of Art, Washington, Andrew W Mellon Collection (1937.1.106).

Figure 7.
Joshua Reynolds, Lady Caroline Howard, 1778. Oil on canvas, 143 × 113 cm. National Gallery of Art, Washington, Andrew W Mellon Collection (1937.1.106).

Digital image courtesy of National Gallery of Art, Washington. (Open access)

In the later 1770s Lord Carlisle became more financially solvent as he gained lucrative employment from the Crown. In 1777 he was made a Privy Councillor and the following year travelled to Philadelphia as the head of a commission to attempt a peace with the Thirteen Colonies. Horace Walpole was unimpressed: ‘Lord Carlisle’, he observed, ‘was a young man of pleasure and fashion, fond of dress and gaming, by which he had greatly hurt his fortune, was totally unacquainted with business and though not void of ambition, had but moderate parts and less application’.37 Despite Walpole’s poor opinion, and the failure of the diplomatic mission, the government regarded Lord Carlisle favourably, resulting in his appointment in 1780 as Lord Lieutenant, or Viceroy, of Ireland, where he remained until 1782. On taking up the post, he sat for his portrait to George Romney, who in 1779 had painted the portrait of Lady Carlisle for her step-mother, Countess Gower.38 Lord Carlisle’s portrait (fig. 8), in which he wears the green sash and star of the Order of the Thistle, was not intended for himself, however, but his close friend, Anthony Storer.39 They had known one another since their schooldays, when they were known as ‘the Pylades and Orestes of Eton’.40 As their correspondence indicates, Storer took charge of the portrait commission, hustling Romney to complete it, organising a replica for James Wallace, the Attorney General, and an engraving.41 In December 1781, a year after Lord Carlisle had first sat to Romney, the portrait was complete.42 Storer was ‘quite delighted’ with the result and thought the face ‘very like and very well done’. He was less impressed with the Romney’s handling of drapery: ‘there is something that looks always cold and unfinished about it’.43 Whether Lord Carlisle himself ever saw the portrait is not known.

1780. Oil on canvas, 76 × 63.5 cm. Museum of the Shenandoah Valley (0149).

Figure 8.
George Romney, Frederick Howard, 5th Earl of Carlisle, 1780. Oil on canvas, 76 × 63.5 cm. Museum of the Shenandoah Valley (0149).

Digital image courtesy of Museum of the Shenandoah Valley . (All rights reserved)

Meanwhile, at his official residence in Phoenix Park, Dublin, Lord Carlisle entertained lavishly, enjoying the privileges of his position, while attempting to introduce measures of reform to improve the conditions of the populace of Dublin and the local environment. Among the few works of art he commissioned at that time was a painting by Francis Wheatley, in which Lord Carlisle is depicted on horseback in Phoenix Park, accompanied by his wife and sister seated in a carriage, together with various retainers and his eldest son, George, Lord Morpeth, then a teenager (fig. 9).44 Wheatley, who had moved to Dublin to escape his creditors and his lover’s irate husband, took advantage of the febrile political situation, combining genre painting with modern history in his ambitious painting A View of College Green with a Meeting of the Volunteeers, which he exhibited at the Society of Artists, Dublin, in 1779, and his outdoor conversation piece, Lord Aldborough on Pomposo, a Review in Belan Park, County Kildare.45 It was, presumably, the success of these works that prompted Lord Carlisle to commission his own family conversation piece from Wheatley.

Portrait of the 5th Earl of Carlisle and his family in Phoenix Park, Dublin

Figure 9.
Francis Wheatley, Portrait of the 5th Earl of Carlisle and his family in Phoenix Park, Dublin, 1781. Oil on canvas, 149.8 × 195.5 cm. Castle Howard.

Digital image courtesy of Castle Howard. (All rights reserved)

While he was in Ireland Lord Carlisle sold his house in St James’s Place to Lord Northington for £7000, entrusting the removal of the house’s art works to George Selwyn.46 As Selwyn reported to him on 13 March 1781:

I was employed this whole morning almost with one of Linnell’s men, in arranging and hanging up in my apartment the pictures which I have of yours. They were very well disposed of, and will be taken great care of. I shall begin to set about to make a catalogue of them tomorrow for my own use, distinguishing them from my own, and you will have a copy of the same, about the time of your return. If I live to that period I shall propose that the frames of yours may be gilded, as mine will then be, anew.47

As Selwyn noted, the paintings, which he described as ‘the flower of your collection’, included works by Teniers, Wouvermans, Lemoine and Pierre Patel, as well as various miniatures and ‘the Garrick of Soffani’ – a reference to The Alchymist (see fig. 4), which Lord Carlisle evidently displayed at St James’s Place among his continental cabinet pictures.

During the 1780s Lord Carlisle’s political power was enhanced through his close association with Fox and his Whig administration, although, it has been affirmed, he was never wholly won over by Fox’s full-blooded Whig ideology.48 Even so, caricaturists readily identified him with the Foxite cause, as for example in a satirical print entitled ‘The Monster’, of 1783 (fig. 10), in which Lord Carlisle’s head features alongside others in the nascent Whig ministry, protruding from the body of a fox. By the mid-1780s Joshua Reynolds was also identified unambiguously as the painter of the Whig party.49 Lord Carlisle continued to patronise him, commissioning a head-and-shoulders portrait of his son, Viscount Morpeth.50 Completed over five sittings in January 1786, the portrait depicted Lord Morpeth in a velvet jacket and broad lace collar, with fashionable shoulder-length hair, his head set against a feigned oval background, a popular format in earlier eighteenth-century portraiture and now undergoing a revival. With its bravura handling, dramatic lighting and elegant pose, the portrait presented Lord Carlisle’s heir as a most eligible young man.

1783. Hand coloured etching, 30.5 × 25 cm. The British Museum (1865,0610.1145).

Figure 10.
William Humphrey, The Monster, 1783. Hand coloured etching, 30.5 × 25 cm. The British Museum (1865,0610.1145).

Digital image courtesy of The Trustees of the Brititish Museum. (CC BY-NC-SA 4.0)

During this period political discourse within the Royal Academy was heated, as Reynolds faced increasing opposition from those Academicians who resented his seemingly autocratic grasp on the presidency. Matters came to a head in March 1790 when a disagreement over Reynolds’s wish to set aside protocol and appoint the Italian architect Joseph Bonomi as the professor of perspective led to his unforeseen resignation as president. Among those who supported Reynolds was Lord Carlisle, who leapt to his defence in verse form through his poem To Sir Joshua Reynolds: on his late resignation of the president’s chair of the Royal Academy.51

In the opening lines of the poem Lord Carlisle likens Reynolds’s resignation to the demise of a monarch:

Too wise of contest, and too meek for strife,
Like LEAR, oppress’d by those you rais’d to life,
Thy sceptre broken, thy dominion o’er,
The curtain falls, and thou’rt a King no more. –

In confirming his admiration for the calibre of his achievement, Lord Carlisle provides a roll call of Reynolds’s continental predecessors, including Rubens, Van Dyck, Lely, Kneller, Verrio, Jean-Baptiste van Loo and Michael Dahl. He continues:

Turn we from such to thee, whose nobler art
Rivets the eye and penetrates the heart:
To thee, whom Nature, in thy earliest youth,
Fed with the honey of eternal Truth –

The poem concludes by urging Reynolds to take up the presidency once more: ‘Accept again they pow’r – resume the Chair –/ Nor leave it till you place an Equal there’.

Among those to whom he circulated a copy of the poem was Horace Walpole, who commented to Lord Carlisle on its patriotic sentiment: ‘It is very fortunate for Sir Joshua that the justice you have done to his merit will long survive his works, and will convince posterity that he was the real founder of an English school, if such a school shall continue’.52

Although Reynolds resumed the presidency, his reign was short-lived and he died less than two years later in February 1792. At the head of his funeral procession were ten aristocratic pall-bearers, including three dukes, two marquesses and three earls, one of whom was the Earl of Carlisle. For Lord Carlisle, like many of his aristocratic acolytes, Reynolds’s death marked a watershed in contemporary British art and ushered in a new age in which patrons and connoisseurs felt duty bound to honour his memory – as Walpole had intimated to Lord Carlisle – as the founder of a national school of art. During the 1790s it was a mantle that Lord Carlisle adopted, as reflected through his involvement in art politics and his renewed interest in patronage and collecting.

In 1793 Lord Carlisle’s public status was enhanced further as he was invested with the Order of the Garter, among the most distinguished honours bestowed by the Crown. It was, presumably, as a direct result of the honour that Lord Carlisle commissioned a new portrait from the young Thomas Lawrence, a rising star in fashionable society portraiture (fig. 11). Certainly, he would have desired a more up to date image, since on receiving the Garter he had, as was customary, resigned the Order of the Thistle, the insignia of which was displayed in Reynolds’s earlier portrait. By the 1790s, while he remained very much a public figure, Lord Carlisle was less embroiled in metropolitan party politics, preferring to spend more time at Castle Howard, attending to local affairs, improving the house and estate and augmenting his art collection. It was then that he commissioned two new landscapes of Castle Howard and the surrounding estate, from the Flemish painter Hendrik de Cort, who had emigrated from Antwerp and settled in London by 1790. One of these pictures Lord Carlisle hung in his London house, then at 12 Grosvenor Place, although he was quite critical of the composition.53

circa 1793. Oil on canvas, 76.2 × 63.5 cm. Private Collection.

Figure 11.
Thomas Lawrence, Frederick Howard, 5th Earl of Carlisle, circa 1793. Oil on canvas, 76.2 × 63.5 cm. Private Collection.

Digital image courtesy of Sotheby's. (All rights reserved)

Lord Carlisle by this time generally had greater freedom to invest in art, his income having been released from the control of trustees in 1786. His greatest period of expenditure, which marked a watershed in the development of his collection, was in 1798, when he formed a syndicate with his brother-in-law, Earl Gower (later Marquess of Stafford), and the Duke of Bridgewater to purchase the celebrated collection of Italian old-master paintings, formerly owned by the French aristocrat Philippe II, Duc d’Orléans, and then in the possession of the London art dealer Michael Bryan.54 Of the fifteen paintings acquired by Lord Carlisle, among the most prestigious was The Dead Christ Mourned, or ‘Three Maries’ by the Bolognese master, Annibale Carracci. The painting had been admired, in particular by Joshua Reynolds, who would have seen it during a visit to Paris in 1771 and who used it as a compositional source for his own history painting, Ugolino and his Children in the Dungeon.55 Lord Carlisle’s acquisition of a significant tranche of the Orleans collection confirmed him as a leading connoisseur of old-master paintings in his own right, and a senior figure in the art establishment, dedicated to the development of a national taste moulded in the Reynoldsian canon.

Already, before his significant old-master acquisitions of 1798, Lord Carlisle had used the services of Michael Bryan to invest in several major paintings of the British School. In 1795 he acquired Gainsborough’s Girl with Pigs (fig. 12), which had been purchased privately by Bryan from the sale of the French aristocrat Charles Alexandre, Vicomte de Calonne.56 As Lord Carlisle would have been aware, the painting had belonged previously to Joshua Reynolds following its exhibition at the Royal Academy in 1782. And, as was reported in 1786, he had displayed the picture among his collection of old masters in his ‘cabinet collection of all the great masters’, at his home in Leicester Square.57 Two years later, at the sale of Gainsborough’s widow, Lord Carlisle purchased, again probably through Bryan, the artist’s unfinished full-length fancy picture, the Housemaid. The purchase cost him the very modest sum of £4 14s 6d, although its commercial value was clearly transcended by its status as an imaginative work by Reynolds’s greatest rival.58 Lord Carlisle hung both paintings at his London home.59

Girl with Pigs

Figure 12.
Thomas Gainsborough, Girl with Pigs, 1782. Oil on canvas, 125.7 × 148.6 cm. Castle Howard.

Digital image courtesy of Castle Howard. (All rights reserved)

Without doubt the most prestigious modern British work of art purchased by Lord Carlisle was Reynolds’s full-length portrait of Omai, the young South Sea Islander who had courted celebrity during a two-year sojourn in England in the mid-1770s (fig. 13).60 Lord Carlisle purchased the picture from Bryan, who had purchased it for £105 at a studio sale of Reynolds’s ‘Portraits, Fancy Pictures, Studies and Sketches’ at Greenwood’s auction room, London, in April 1796.61 By July, Lord Carlisle had installed the painting at Castle Howard, where it was admired shortly afterwards by John Manners, 5th Duke of Rutland, who was in the course of an extended peregrination around Britain. It was, stated Lord Rutland, ‘the most striking object’ on view.62 Lord Carlisle must have remembered the visit of Mai, or Omai, as he became known in England, and his popularity in fashionable circles. And, despite his aversion to London at that time, he may have seen Reynolds’s portrait when it was exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1776. However, even if Lord Carlisle could have afforded to purchase it, the picture was clearly not for sale and remained in Reynolds’s own collection until his death. When it was offered up at auction by his niece twenty years later, it had attained the status akin to a history painting, and the high price it fetched was in line with the artist’s most valued subject pictures, which also featured in the sale.63 For Carlisle it was most definitely a ‘trophy’ picture and one that could be displayed confidently in the company of his collection of old masters. Indeed, in 1811, when a guidebook listed the ten most important pictures at Castle Howard, Omai was the sole modern British picture to be included.64


Figure 13.
Joshua Reynolds, Omai, 1776. Oil on canvas, 236 × 145.5 cm. Private Collection.

Digital image courtesy of Public Domain. (All rights reserved)

While Lord Carlisle had augmented his collection of old-master paintings and modern British art, he continued to take an interest in patronising living artists. They included the society portraitist John Hoppner, who painted a full-length portrait of him which he exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1797 (fig. 14). The art critic John Williams, under the soubriquet Anthony Pasquin, poured vitriol on the picture, observing: ‘This Nobleman is confessed to have an excellent understanding, yet if we look for the traits of intelligence in this portrait, it is in vain, we there discover a something [sic] in the aggregate that rather implies inanity than vigorous thought’.65 Pasquin’s principal target that year was the gullibility of a number of leading Academicians, notably Benjamin West, who had been duped into promoting a fake Renaissance painting recipe, cooked up by one Thomas Provis and his daughter, the so-called ‘Venetian Secret’.66 Lord Carlisle, who sat on the top table at the Academy dinner that year, appeared to approve of the ‘process’, as it was dubbed.67 Among those artists who subscribed to a copy of the recipe was Hoppner, who experimented with it on the background of Lord Carlisle’s portrait, possibly at the behest of his patron. He was, however, unimpressed, telling his fellow Academician Francis Bourgeois that he ‘found it too humpy & meagre a manner of painting to answer his wishes’.68

Frederick Howard, 5th Earl of Carlisle in his Garter Robes

Figure 14.
John Hoppner, Frederick Howard, 5th Earl of Carlisle in his Garter Robes, circa 1770. Oil on canvas, 246.4 × 160 cm. Castle Howard.

Digital image courtesy of Mary Evans Picture Library/Castle Howard Collection (10239403). (All rights reserved)

Aside from commissioning portraits of himself and his family, Lord Carlisle demonstrated an increased interest in the 1790s in a range of British contemporary art. In 1796, for example, he wrote to the artist Joseph Farington enquiring about a painting in the current Royal Academy exhibition, The Conquest by Robert Smirke, a satirical genre painting based on a scene in Samuel Foote’s comedy Taste.69 However, Lord Carlisle does not appear to have purchased it. Slightly later, around 1800, he purchased from Joseph Nollekens a clay Seated Venus, sculpted directly from the nude model as she sat on the workshop floor to put on her stockings. It was Lord Carlisle’s intention to have a marble statue carved from it for display ‘with the numerous other works of Art’ at Castle Howard. However, due to objections from family members – presumably for reasons of decorum – he was compelled to cancel the purchase.70 The sculpture remained with Nollekens until it was purchased in his posthumous sale of 1823 by the 3rd Earl of Egremont. Whether he was aware of Lord Carlisle’s earlier intention, Lord Egremont commissioned a marble statue based on it, which he displayed in his sculpture and painting gallery at Petworth House, Sussex.71

Lord Carlisle was more successful in his patronage of another contemporary artist, Richard Westall, whose lugubrious literary painting Eloisa – based on Alexander Pope’s poem Eloise to Abelard – he purchased for ninety-two guineas in 1806, when it was exhibited at the British Institution.72 Lord Carlisle’s association with Westall had been initiated in 1798, when he commissioned him to make a series of illustrations to his play The Father’s Revenge, which he had first published privately in 1783.73 The play was loosely based on a tale from Boccaccio’s Decameron, relating to the murder of his daughter’s lover by Tancred, Prince of Salerno. In 1800, Lord Carlisle reissued it, with engravings of Westall’s illustrations, together with a number of his poems.74 As Westall told Farington, the engraved plates had cost fifty guineas and the edition was limited to a hundred copies.75 He also showed Farington the sketch he had made of Lord Carlisle, a print of which was made as a frontispiece to the play (fig. 15). It was presumably at this time that Lord Carlisle also commissioned the portrait drawing from Richard Cosway in which he is depicted, seated, in the same Garter outfit, holding his play script, while gazing towards a bust to his left, which, in the engraving, bears the inscription 'Boccaccio' (fig. 16).76

Frederick Howard, 5th Earl of Carlisle

Figure 15.
Thomas Ryder after Richard Westall, Frederick Howard, 5th Earl of Carlisle, 1800. Stipple etching, 32 × 24 cm. The British Museum (1848,1125.274).

Digital image courtesy of The Trustees of the British Museum. (CC BY-NC-SA 4.0)

Frederick Howard, 5th Earl of Carlisle, seated with a bust of Boccaccio

Figure 16.
Richard Cosway, Frederick Howard, 5th Earl of Carlisle, seated with a bust of Boccaccio, circa 1800. Pencil drawing, 25. 4 × 22.8 cm. Castle Howard.

Digital image courtesy of Castle Howard. (All rights reserved)

While it is not possible in the present context to consider every contemporary British artist patronised by Lord Carlisle, by way of conclusion, some mention must be made of John Jackson, who came to occupy a uniquely privileged position in his ménage at Castle Howard. Born in Lastingham, Yorkshire, in 1778, Jackson was apprenticed initially as a tailor to his father. Around 1802, he was making a meagre living painting miniatures in Whitby, when he was introduced to the Earl of Mulgrave, who lived at nearby Mulgrave Castle.77 Persuaded by Lord Mulgrave, Sir George Beaumont and Lord Carlisle joined him in providing Jackson with financial support and enabling him to attend the Royal Academy schools, even though by 1806 Beaumont was complaining of Jackson’s ‘indolent apathy’.78 Despite such misgivings, Jackson’s career prospered, not least owing to the encouragement of Lord Carlisle, who allowed him to spend five months at Castle Howard copying pictures in the collection. In time, Jackson became de facto the family’s principal portraitist, taking on the mantle worn by Reynolds in the previous generation. Among his most Reynoldsian portraits is, perhaps, that of the young Lady Mary Howard, daughter of the 6th Earl of Carlisle, painted in 1828, three years after the death of Lord Carlisle, and which now hangs in the Turquoise Drawing Room. However, the painting that epitomises Jackson’s relationship with Castle Howard, and the patronage bestowed on him by the 5th Earl, is the conversation piece set in the sunlit Long Gallery, where the ageing Lord Carlisle contemplates, in the company of his youngest son, Henry Howard, an unidentified painting on an easel (fig. 17). It acts as a fitting coda to this essay and as a reminder of the range of the 5th Earl as a collector, his significant role in developing Castle Howard as a repository for art and his enlightened patronage of modern and contemporary British art.

Conversation piece in the sunlit Long Gallery, where the ageing Lord Carlisle contemplates, in the company of his youngest son, Henry Howard, an unidentified painting on an easel

Figure 17.
John Jackson, Conversation piece in the sunlit Long Gallery, where the ageing Lord Carlisle contemplates, in the company of his youngest son, Henry Howard, an unidentified painting on an easel, circa 1810. Oil on canvas, 61 × 73.6 cm. Castle Howard.

Digital image courtesy of Mary Evans Picture Library/Castle Howard Collection (10239451). (All rights reserved)


  • Dr Martin Postle is Deputy Director for Grants and Publications at the Paul Mellon Centre. Between 1998 and 2007 he was Head of British Art to 1900 at Tate. Martin's research and publication interests focus principally on eighteenth- and nineteenth-century British art, including portraiture, landscape and the history of art academies. He has curated exhibitions on a wide range of subjects, including the artist’s model, the Fancy Picture and the art of the garden, as well as monographic exhibitions on Joshua Reynolds, Johan Zoffany, Richard Wilson, Stanley Spencer and George Stubbs. Martin is project leader and commissioning editor of ‘Art & the Country House’, to which he has contributed a number of essays and catalogue entries.


  1. Lord Carlisle quoted in John Heneage Jesse, George Selwyn and his Contemporaries, 4 vols, London: Richard Bentley, 1843–44, vol. 2, p. 292.

  2. David Mannings and Martin Postle, Sir Joshua Reynolds: A Complete Catalogue of his Paintings, 2 vols, New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 2000, vol. 1, pp. 111–12, no. 279. An examination of the frescoes in the cupola does not reveal the identity of the ‘angel’ to which Lord Carlisle refers, although the profiled head of one of the sibyls is reminiscent of the head in Reynolds’s portrait. See (accessed 18 August 2018).

  3. ‘Catalogue of pictures &c bought at Rome by Myself’ [1770], Castle Howard Archives (hereafter CHA), J14/30/2.

  4. Jesse 1843–44, vol. 2, pp. 208 and 311. See also John Ingamells, A Dictionary of British and Irish Travellers in Italy 1701–1800, New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 1997, p. 180.

  5. Mannings and Postle 2000, vol. 1, pp. 265, no. 944.

  6. Ibid., p. 266, no. 945.

  7. Ibid., no. 947.

  8. Ibid., no. 946.

  9. Ibid., pp. 267–8, no. 955.

  10. The mezzotint engraving of Lady Carlisle, by the leading printmaker James Watson, was published in May 1773. An impression of the print in the British Museum, published 19 May 1773 (1832,1211.91), has the names of Reynolds and Watson inscribed with a flourish below the image, although the sitter’s name is omitted, suggesting that the print was made to promote the artist and the engraver and not for the benefit of Lord or Lady Carlisle.

  11. Joshua Reynolds, ‘Sent a Bill to Lor [sic] Carlile for Pictures Sold 493 10 & Paid the same day sold a Picture of Rubens to Do.: 300 Guineas not [cancelled] likewise paid’, quoted in Malcolm Cormack, ‘The Ledgers of Sir Joshua Reynolds’, The Walpole Society, vol. 42, 1970, p. 116. Pictures he purchased from Reynolds also included Head of Old Man by Ferdinand Bol (then thought to be by Rembrandt), a portrait of Philip II attributed to Titian and a Nativity by Annibale Carracci.

  12. See Mary Webster, Johan Zoffany 1733–1810, New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 2011, p. 210.

  13. Ibid., p. 209.

  14. See (accessed 20 August 2018).

  15. Letter from Lord Carlisle to Lady Carlisle, 29 March 1772, CHA, J15/1/2, cited in Andrew Duncan, ‘A Study of the Life and Public Career of Frederick Howard, Fifth Earl of Carlisle, 1748–1825’, D.Phil. dissertation, Oxford University, 1981, p. 265.

  16. Letter from Reynolds to Thomas, 2nd Baron Grantham, 3 April 1772, in John Ingamells and John Edgcumbe, The Letters of Sir Joshua Reynolds, New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 2000, p. 37.

  17. The picture, purchased for £525 at Christie’s in February 1772 as Guercino’s ‘Angelica and Medora’ [sic], was sold by Castle Howard in 1996 and is now in the Scottish National Gallery, Edinburgh.

  18. For details of the purchases via Christie’s see Duncan 1981, pp. 264-5.

  19. Jesse 1843, vol. 2, p. 291. See also Duncan 1981, p. 261.

  20. See Lord Hawkesbury, ‘Catalogue of the Portraits, Miniatures, &c., at Castle Howard, Yorkshire, and Naworth Castle, Cumberland’, Transactions of the East Riding Antiquarian Society, no. 11 (1904), p. 49, nos 743 and 744.

  21. Lord Carlisle quoted in James Northcote, The Life of Sir Joshua Reynolds, 2 vols, London: Henry Colburn, 1819, vol. 1, p. 179.

  22. See Martin Postle, Sir Joshua Reynolds: The Subject Pictures, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1995, pp. 148–9. See also Frances Yates, ‘Transformations of Dante’s Ugolino’, Journal of the Courtauld and Warburg Institutes, vol. 14, no. 1/2 (January–June 1951), pp. 92–117.

  23. Poems consisting of the Following Pieces, viz. I. Ode written upon the death of Mr Gray, II. For the Monument to a favourite Spaniel, III. Another Inscription for the Same, IV. Translation from Dante, Canto xxxiii. By the Earl of Carlisle, London: J. Ridley, 1773, pp. 13–17; The Annual Register, or a View of the History, Politics, and Literature, for the Year 1773, London: J. Dodsley, 1774, pt 2, pp. 230–32. See also Postle 1995, p. 148.

  24. See Judy Egerton, George Stubbs, Painter: Catalogue Raisonné, New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 2007, p. 352, no. 155.

  25. Lord Carlisle quoted in Jesse 1844, vol. 3, p. 136.

  26. F. H. W. Sheppard, ed., Survey of London: Volumes 29 and 30, St James Westminster, Part 1, London, 1960, in British History Online, (accessed 16 August 2018).

  27. Lord Carlisle quoted in Jesse 1844, vol. 3, p. 131.

  28. Letter from Lord Carlisle to George Selwyn, 13 October 1775, ibid., pp. 110–11.

  29. Letter from George Selwyn to Lord Carlisle, 17 October 1775, in The Manuscripts of the Earl of Carlisle, preserved at Castle Howard, Presented to both Houses of Parliament by Command of Her Majesty, London, Her Majesty’s Stationary Office: Eyre and Spottiswoode, 1897, p. 296. Selwyn’s description of Reynolds as ‘a good natured man’ is possibly a reference to Oliver Goldsmith’s play The Good Natur’d Man of 1768. Goldsmith, who had died in 1774, was a close friend of Reynolds. The reference to ‘false colours’ relates to Reynolds’s notoriously fading pigments.

  30. In his sales ledger Reynolds had entered under 13 April 1774: ‘Lord Carlisle for Picture sold remain unpaid’, together with an amount of either 104 or 134 guineas. The entry was subsequently cancelled. On 6 September 1775 he entered a payment of £157 for ‘Lord Carlisle, whole length’ and £73 for the three-quarter-length portrait of Lady Carlisle; Cormack 1970, p. 148. As David Mannings has noted, the amount entered corresponded to a sum requested rather than paid; Mannings and Postle 2000, vol. 1, p. 14. In the present instance, given the guarded response of Lord Carlisle, it appears that the payment was requested in September 1775 but had not yet been paid. Indeed, as Selwyn speculated, Reynolds – ignorant of Lord Carlisle’s financial problems – was confident of receiving the money.

  31. Letter from Joshua Reynolds to Lord Carlisle, 2 November 1775, in Ingamells and Edgcumbe 2000, p. 58. See also CHA, J14/29/2.

  32. John Jackson (1778–1831) had a house and studio at 7 Newman Street, just north of Oxford Street.

  33. Ernest Fletcher, Conversations of James Northcote R.A. with James Ward on Art and Artists, London: Methuen & Co., 1901, p. 75.

  34. Duncan 1981, p. 20.

  35. Mannings and Postle 2000, vol. 1, p. 265, no. 942.

  36. Reynolds, sales ledger, ‘July 1783 Lord Carlisle, for Lady Caroline Howard 73 0 0’, cited in Cormack 1970, p. 149.

  37. A. Francis Steuart, The Last Journals of Horace Walpole during the Reign of George III from 1771–1783, 2 vols, London: John Lane, 1910, vol. 2, p. 122.

  38. See Alex Kidson, George Romney: A Complete Catalogue of his Paintings, 3 vols, 2015, vol. 1, p. 116, no. 207.

  39. Ibid., p. 115, no. 206.

  40. Obituary of the Earl of Carlisle, The Gentleman’s Magazine and Historical Chronicle, vol. 95, July–December 1825, p. 369.

  41. Letter from Anthony Storer to Lord Carlisle, 30 May 1781, Manuscripts of the Earl of Carlisle 1897, p. 489. Storer requested William Woollett, a leading line engraver, to make the print, although he refused, and an etching was made at Storer’s request by John Keyes Sherwin, published in 1782; see ibid., p. 547. An impression of the print with a pen and ink dedication from Storer to ‘Mr Cracherode’ on the mount is in the British Museum, Prints and Drawings, Q,2.33. ‘Mr Cracherode’ was presumably the prominent print collector Clayton Morton Cracherode (1730–1799). For the replica of Romney’s portrait made for the Attorney General see Manuscripts of the Earl of Carlisle 1897, p. 509, and Kidson 2015, p. 115, no. 206a.

  42. Manuscripts of the Earl of Carlisle 1897, p. 547.

  43. Letter from Storer to Lord Carlisle, 11 December 1781, in ibid.

  44. See Mary Webster, Francis Wheatley, London: Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1970, p. 41, fig. 38, p. 129, no. 37; Hawkesbury 1904, p. 12, no. 195, pl. IX: Christopher Ridgway, 'Francis wheatley, Portrait of the 5th earl of Carlisle and his family in Phoenix Park, 1781', Centre for the Study of Historic Irish Houses and Estates, 18 June 2020, In addition to Lord Carlisle and his family, Hawkesbury identifies the other figures as Mr Ekins, Rector of Morpeth, Mr Emly, Mr Corbett and Lord Carlisle’s groom, Samuel Waterwith.

  45. Webster 1970, pp. 32–3, 40–41, 126, 129, nos 30 and 35.

  46. Manuscripts of the Earl of Carlisle 1897, p. 469.

  47. Ibid., p. 472.

  48. Duncan 1981, p. 130.

  49. Martin Postle, ‘Sir Joshua Reynolds, Edmund Burke and the Grand Whiggery’, in Elise Goodman, ed., Art and Culture in the Eighteenth Century: New Dimensions and Multiple Perspectives, Newark: University of Delaware Press, 2001, pp. 106–24.

  50. Mannings and Postle 2000, vol. 1, pp. 266–7, no. 948. The portrait was engraved in mezzotint 1787 by Thomas Trotter; see (accessed 18 August 2018). The original was destroyed by the 1940 fire at Castle Howard.

  51. The poem, privately printed, is included in Edmond Malone, The Literary Works of Sir Joshua Reynolds, 3 vols, London: T. Cadell and W. Davies, 1819, vol. 1, pp. ccxxxi–iv. An unbound copy of the poem is in the Yale Center for British Art, Rare Books and Manuscripts, ND497 R4 C3 1790, New Haven, Conn.

  52. Letter from Horace Walpole to Lord Carlisle, 10 April 1790, Manuscripts of the Earl of Carlisle 1897, p. 680.

  53. ‘Descriptive Catalogue of the Pictures in the house in Grosvenor Place’, CHA, H2/1/46-47, c.1812, p. 12, no. 32. The picture is described as follows: ‘Landscape: a view taken from a spot in the Park at Castle Howard. The representation is on the whole faithful: but to gain effect it is much too dark, & from the want of knowledge in aerial perspective the true distances are not well preserved. It has one great fault, the Raywood, that is a hanging wood composed of enormous trees, & slopes to the water from a considerable height appears like an artificial mound covered with brushwood’.

  54. See The Bridgewater syndicate,*/viewPage/2 (accessed 18 August 2018).

  55. Postle 1995, pp. 144–6.

  56. See Hugh Belsey, Thomas Gainsborough: The Portraits, Fancy Pictures and Copies after Old Masters, 2 vols, New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 2019, vol. 2, pp. 954–5, no. 1050.

  57. The Morning Herald, 6 February 1786.

  58. Belsey 2019, vol. 2, pp. 972–4, no. 1062.

  59. ‘Descriptive Catalogue’, CHA, H2/1/46-47, c.1812, nos 15 and 51, p. 18.

  60. See Martin Postle, ed., Joshua Reynolds: The Creation of Celebrity, London: Tate Publishing, 2005, p. 218, no. 67.

  61. Mannings and Postle 2000, vol. 1, p. 37, no. 1363.

  62. Rutland recorded his visit to Castle Howard on 13 August 1796, where he viewed the picture in a ‘small dining-room’ to the east of the entrance hall. See John Henry Manners, Journal of a Tour to the Northern Parts of Great Britain, London: J. Triphook, 1813, p. 92.

  63. See Postle 1995, pp. 277–8.

  64. Thomas Hinderwell, The History and Antiquities of Scarborough, and the Vicinity, York: Longman, Hurst, Rees, Orme, and Brown, 2nd edn, 1811, p. 376. The first edition, of 1798, did not feature any of the British picture acquisitions of the 1790s or the Orleans collection, indicating that the text was compiled before their arrival at Castle Howard.

  65. John Williams (Anthony Pasquin), A Critical Guide to the Present Exhibition at the Royal Academy, for 1797, London: H. D. Symonds, P. McQueen and T. Bellamy, 1797, pp. 7–8, no. 96.

  66. See Angus Trumble and Mark Aronson, Benjamin West and the Venetian Secret, New Haven, Conn: Yale Center for British Art, 2008.

  67. Kenneth Garlick, Angus Macintyre and Kathryn Cave, The Diary of Joseph Farington (hereafter Farington), 16 vols, New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 1978–84, vol. 3, pp. 829–30, 834.

  68. Ibid., p. 802.

  69. A version of The Conquest, possibly that exhibited by Smirke, was acquired for the Government Art Collection from the Leicester Galleries in 1963, accession no. 6054; (accessed 20 August 2018). For a discussion of Smirke’s picture in the context of the 1796 exhibition, and an illustration of a later engraving, see Rosie Dias, ‘1796 Portraiture after Reynolds’, in Sarah Victoria Turner and Mark Hallett, eds, The Royal Academy Summer Exhibition: A Chronicle, 1769–2018, (accessed 20 August 2018).

  70. See John Thomas Smith, Nollekens and his Times, 2 vols, London: Henry Colburn, 1828, vol. 2, pp. 64–5. For the marble statue made from Nollekens’s clay model see (accessed 20 August 2018).

  71. The statue was carved by John Williams, under the supervision of Charles Rossi RA; see Smith 1828, pp. 63–4.

  72. Farington 1978–84, vol. 7, p. 2683. The picture was sold at the Castle Howard sale, Sotheby’s, London, 12 November 1991, lot 547; see also Sotheby’s, 22 November 2007, lot 60.

  73. The drawings were mentioned to Joseph Farington by Westall, on 6 December 1798, when he noted that Lord Carlisle was ‘much pleased’ with them; Farington 1978–84, vol. 3, p. 1104.

  74. The Father’s Revenge, A Tragedy: with Other Poems; by Frederick Earl of Carlisle, London: W. Bulmer & Co, 1800.

  75. It has been stated that there were, in fact, as few as twenty-five copies printed; see Herbert G. Wright, Boccaccio in England: From Chaucer to Tennyson, London: Bloomsbury Academic Editions, 2013, p. 323 n. 1. In July 1815, at Westall’s posthumous studio sale, Farington was the under-bidder for Westall’s copy of The Father’s Revenge. As Farington noted, ‘on account of its scarcity it being a private work, not published, I expected several bidders but there was only one against me. He wd. have had it for 18s. but I raised His bidding to £2–15–0’; Farington 1978–84, vol. 13, pp. 4661.

  76. The Cosway drawing was reproduced as a stipple engraving, undated, by Anthony Cardon (1772–1813). For an impression see British Museum, 1848, 1125.276. See also Hawkesbury 1904, p. 32, no. 438, ‘Pencil drawing 10¾ x 9 in.’, stating that the bust is of Charles James Fox – although the inscription on the bust in the engraving is ‘Boccaccio’. Hawkesbury also mentions a drawing of Lady Carlisle by Cosway, ibid., p. 34, no. 486.

  77. See Farington 1978–84, vol. 8, p. 2294.

  78. See ibid., vol. 6, p. 2314, and vol. 7, p. 2716.



by Martin Postle
20 November 2020
House Essay
CC BY-NC International 4.0
Cite as
Martin Postle, "Frederick Howard, 5th Earl of Carlisle as a collector of contemporary British Art", Art and the Country House,