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Oil Painting - Edward Howard
  • Edward Howard
    Batoni, Pompeo, born 1708 - died 1787
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Edward Howard

  • Object:

    Oil Painting

  • Place of origin:

    Rome (painted)

  • Date:

    1766 (painted)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Batoni, Pompeo, born 1708 - died 1787 (painter (artist))

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Oil on canvas

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    British Galleries, Room 118, The Wolfson Gallery, case WW

Object Type
When rich young men went on the Grand Tour of Europe as part of their education, many of them took the opportunity to commission an Italian artist to paint their portrait. The frame made for this portrait is a good example of the British Neo-classical style.

Subjects Depicted
Edward Howard was the son of Lord Philip Howard. In 1764, in the course of his travels in Italy, Edward commissioned Pompeo Batoni (1708-1787) to paint his portrait. Frequently, the backgrounds in portraits of Grand Tourists included identifiable Roman antiquities, and here Batoni has inserted the ruined Temple of Vesta.

At that time Batoni was the most celebrated painter in Rome, and one of the most famous in Europe. For nearly 50 years he made portraits of Rome's visitors. He was equally gifted as a history painter, as well as being internationally known for his religious and mythological paintings. On completion of this portrait in 1766, he sent it to Edward Howard in Britain, who had returned home in 1764. It was finally mounted in an elaborately-carved British frame surmounted by an oval with a relief of Minerva and Cupid, very much in the decorative manner of Sir William Chambers (1723-1796), an influential architect and designer in the Neo-classical style.

Physical description

Portrait three-quarter length of Edward Howard, standing; wearing a scarlet costume trimmed with gold lace; holding a tricorne hat in left hand and the leash of a greyhound in right; the greyhound jumps up and paws him; behind at left is a vase with antique dionysiac reliefs; in the right distance is a view of the ancient Temple of Vesta. The portrait is in an elaborately carved contemporary English frame surmounted by an oval with a relief of Minerva and Cupid.

Place of Origin

Rome (painted)


1766 (painted)


Batoni, Pompeo, born 1708 - died 1787 (painter (artist))

Materials and Techniques

Oil on canvas

Marks and inscriptions

Inscribed on the parapet, right

'Edward Howard Esqr. 2nd son of the Honble Phillip Howard Esqr.'
Inscribed lower right

'Pompeo Batoni'
Inscribed lower left


Height: 139 cm estimate, Width: 101.5 cm estimate, Height: 251.7 cm frame, Width: 131.5 cm frame, Depth: 21.5 cm frame

Object history note

Purchased, 1949.
The frame possibly designed by John Linnell (born in London, 1729, died there in 1796)
Painted in Rome; the frame probably made in London

Historical significance: Pompeo (Girolamo) Batoni, (b Lucca, 1708; d Rome, 1787) was the most celebrated painter in Rome in the eighteenth century and one of the most famous in Europe. For nearly half a century he recorded the visits to Rome of international travellers on the Grand Tour in portraits that remain among the most memorable artistic accomplishments of the period. He was equally gifted as a history painter, and his religious and mythological paintings were sought after by the greatest princes of Europe.
Edward Howard (1744-1767) was the son of the Lord Philip Howard, who was the brother of edward Howard, 9th Duke of Norfolk. He is described by David Garrick in a letter of 1764 as 'a very worthy good natured Young Man.' Behind Edward there is a carefully observed representation of the circular temple of Vesta, known in the 18th century as the Temple of the Sibyl, set within the Roman countryside. The ruined temple appears to have been one of Batoni's favourite motifs as it reappears in several of his portraits. The dionysiac scene represented on the vase appears in various versions and may be a pastiche.

Historical context note

Grand Tour Portraiture. The ‘Grand Tour’ was a journey, usually through France and Italy, made by classically educated male members of the northern European ruling class to complete their education, to acquire manners and languages and to attain an understanding of the politics of other countries, their economies, geography and history. Especially from the 17th century onwards, it was undertaken to admire (or pretend to admire) the remains of the Classical past and to collect art and antiquities.

The conventions of the Grand Tour portrait were brilliantly perfected by Pompeo Batoni who showed the wealthy and aristocratic youth of England and Scotland elegantly posed before the most celebrated statues and monuments of ancient Rome. If Batoni were too expensive or unavailable, other popular portraitists were George Willison (1741–97), and Nathaniel Dance-Holland.

Descriptive line

Portrait of Edward Howard with his dog. Oil painting by Pompeo Batoni, 1766.

Bibliographic References (Citation, Note/Abstract, NAL no)

Kauffmann, C.M. Catalogue of Foreign Paintings, I. Before 1800. London: Victoria and Albert Museum, 1973, p. 20-21, cat. no. 16A
Liliana Barroero and Fernando Mazzocca, Pompeo Batoni 1708-1787. L'Europa delle Corti e il Grand Tour Milan: Silvana Editoriale S.p.A. Cinisello Balsamo, 2008, p. 276-277, no. 43.
Anthony M. Clark and Edgar Peters Bowron, Pompeo Batoni : a complete catalogue of his works. Oxford : Phaidon, 1985, p. 301-302 no. 295
Edgar Peters Bowron and Peter Björn Kerber, Pompeo Batoni : prince of painters in eighteenth-century Rome New Haven ; London : Yale University Press ; Houston : Museum of Fine Arts, c2007.

Labels and date

British Galleries:
This portrait was painted in Italy, but its frame was made in London. It may have been designed by John Linnell, a leading cabinet-maker of the day who was greatly inflluenced by the architect William Chambers. Such a strongly Neo-classical frame, with its medallion showing the Roman goddess Minerva with Cupid, was considered a suitable choice for a portrait that was painted during the Grand Tour. [27/03/2003]


Oil paint; Canvas


Oil painting

Subjects depicted

Dog (animal); Hats; Tricornes; Ruins; Vase


Paintings; Portraits


Prints, Drawings & Paintings Collection

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