Page:Dictionary of National Biography volume 28.djvu/130

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Howitt
Howitt
124

of Rowlandson. It has been stated that Howitt visited India, but this is an error; his only eastern subjects were the drawings for Captain T. Williamson's `Oriental Field Sports,' 1807, and these were worked up in England from sketches by Williamson. Other of his works are: `Miscellaneous Etchings of Animals,' 50 plates, 1803; 'British Field Sports,' 20 coloured plates, 1807; 'The Angler's Manual,' with 12 plates, 1808; 'A New Work of Animals, principally designed from the Fables of Æsop, Gay, and Phædrus,' 56 plates, 1811; 'Groups of Animals,' 24 plates, 1811; 'The British Sportsman,' 70 plates, 1812; and many of the drawings for `Foreign Field Sports,' 1814. After 1794 Howitt reappeared at the Royal Academy only in 1814 and 1815. He died in Somers Town in 1822. His great-granddaughter, Mrs. Samuel Hastings, possesses a large number of his works, and examples are in the print room of the British Museum and the South Kensington Museum.

[Redgrave's Dict. of Artists; Graves's Dict. of Artists, 1760-1880; Universal Cat. of Books on Art; Reminiscences of Henry Angelo, 1830; Grego's Rowlandson; information from Rev. S. Hastings.]

F. M. O'D.

HOWITT, WILLIAM (1792–1879), miscellaneous writer, was born at Heanor, Derbyshire, 18 Dec. 1792. His father, Thomas Howitt, who farmed a few acres of land at Heanor, joined the Society of Friends on his marriage with Phœbe Tantum, a member of the same society, with whom he acquired a considerable fortune. William was a precocious child, who at the age of thirteen wrote `An Address to Spring,' which was inserted in the `Monthly Magazine.' From 1802 to 1806 he was at the Friends' public school at Ackworth, Yorkshire (Nodal, Bibliography of Ackworth School, 1889, pp. 17-20, with portrait; H. Thompson, History of Ackworth School, 1879,pp.328-34), and afterwards went to school at Tamworth, where he studied chemistry and natural philosophy. He owed his real education, however, to private reading and his natural aptitude for acquiring foreign languages. From his youth he was fond of open-air sports. In 1821 he married Mary Botham [see Howitt, Mary]. The first year of their married life was passed in Staffordshire, where they conjointly wrote, the first of many like productions, a poetical volume entitled `The Forest Minstrel.' In 1823 they made a pedestrian tour through Scotland, at that date an unheard-of achievement. On their return Howitt took up his residence in the Market Place, Nottingham, as a chemist and druggist. Business did not interrupt his literary work, and in 1831 he produced the ' Book of the Seasons, or Calendar of Nature,' in 1833 his `Popular History of Priestcraft in all Ages and Nations,' and in 1835 his `Pantika, or Traditions of the most Ancient Times,' 2 vols. The 'Book of the Seasons' was refused by four of the principal publishing houses, yet when taken up by Colburn & Bentley rapidly ran to seven large editions. His `History of Priestcraft' led to his election as alderman of Nottingham, and to association with the active liberals of the day. Finding that public life deprived him of leisure for writing, he in 1836 removed to West End Cottage, Esher, where he resided during the next three years. Here he wrote `Rural Life of England,' 2 vols., 1838, 'The Boys' Country Book,' 1839, and the first series of `Visits to Remarkable Places,' 1840. In 1840 he took up his residence at Heidelberg for the benefit of his children's education, and in 1842, besides publishing the second series of 'Visits to Remarkable Places,' brought out `Rural and Domestic Life of Germany,' a work which, according to the `Allgemeine Zeitung,' contained the most accurate account of that country written by a foreigner. While in Germany Howitt not only improved his knowledge of German literature, but also made a complete study of Swedish and Danish. Returning to England in 1843 he settled at The Elms, Clapton, London, where he studied mesmerism. In April 1846 he became connected with the `People's Journal,' first as a contributor, and afterwards as part proprietor. A quarrel ensuing Howitt withdrew, and in January 1847 set up a rival periodical called' Hewitt's Journal,' of which three volumes appeared, but it was not a pecuniary success. Among other works from his pen were 'Homes and Haunts of the most eminent British Poets,' 1847, `The Year-Book of the Country,' 1850, and 'Madame Dorrington of the Dene,' a novel, 1851. From 1848 to 1852 he lived at Upper Avenue Road, St. John's Wood. In June 1852, accompanied by his sons Alfred William and Charlton, he set sail for Australia on a visit to his brother Dr. Godfrey Howitt. During the two following years he travelled through Victoria, New South Wales, and Tasmania, and had practical experience of working in a gold-field. Coming back to England in 1854, his family in the meantime having removed to the Hermitage, Highgate, he wrote several works on Australia (`A Boy's Adventures in the Wilds of Australia,' 1854, 'Land, Labour, and Gold, or Two Years in Victoria,' 1855, 2 vols., `Tallangetta, the Squatter's Home,' 1857, 3 vols., `The History of Discovery in Australia, Tasmania, and New Zealand,' 1865,