Page:Dictionary of National Biography volume 28.djvu/42

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page has been validated.

Banks, R.A., the sculptor, and resided there until the end of his life. He was elected a Royal Academician in 1808, and presented as his diploma work ‘The Four Angels loosed from the Great River Euphrates,’ which had been exhibited at the British Institution in 1806, and engraved by William Bond. In the same year he sent to the Royal Academy ‘Peasants of Subiaco returning from the Vineyard on a Holiday,’ now in the South Kensington Museum. In 1809 he exhibited ‘Titania’ and ‘Christ blessing Young Children,’ which forms the altar–piece at St. Luke’s, Berwick Street, London. He became secretary of the Royal Academy in 1811, and exhibited in that year ‘Iris and her train;’ in 1813 a large picture of ‘Hebe,’ and in 1814 that of ‘Sunrise,’ since better known as ‘The Pleiades,’ and engraved by W. D. Taylor. This picture he afterwards sent to the British Institution in competition for the premiums offered, receiving only the second premium of one hundred guineas, the first having been awarded to Sir George Hayter [q. v.] for a head; but he sold the picture to the Marquis of Stafford, and painted a replica of it for Sir John Leicester. In 1814 also, on the occasion of the visit of the allied sovereigns, he was commissioned to paint the large transparencies for the Temple of Concord erected in Hyde Park; he was assisted by Stothard, Hilton, and others. Among his contributions to the exhibition of 1815 was ‘Morning,’ and to that of 1816 ‘The Punishment of Dirce.’ In 1818 he painted for Lord Egremont ‘The Apotheosis of the Princess Charlotte,’ and sent to the Royal Academy ‘Fairies,’ the best of his smaller works, now in the collection of Sir Matthew White Ridley, to whom belongs also ‘The Birth of Venus,’ exhibited in 1819, the finest of all Howard’s pictures. ‘Lear and Cordelia,’ now in the Soane Museum, and a ‘Study of Beech Trees in Knole Park,’ bought by Lord Egremont, appeared at the Academy in 1820; ‘The House of Morpheus,’ also bought by Lord Egremont, in 1821; ‘Ariel released by Prospero’ and ‘Caliban teased by the Spirits of Prospero’ in 1822; and ‘The Solar System’ in 1823. These were followed in 1824 by ‘A Young Lady in the Florentine Costume of 1500,’ a portrait of the painter’s daughter, engraved by Charles Heath for the ‘Literary Souvenir’ of 1827, and purchased by Lord Colborne; it was so much admired that Howard painted some replicas of it, and other portraits in a similar style. In 1825 he exhibited at the Royal Academy ‘Guardian Angels;’ in 1826, ‘Hylas carried off by the Nymphs,’ bought by Lord Egremont; in 1829, ‘Night,’ a companion to the ‘Solar System;’ in 1830, ‘Shakespeare nursed in the Lap of Fancy;’ in 1831, ‘Circe;’ and in 1832, ‘The Contention of Oberon and Titania;’ the last three are in the Soane Museum.

In 1833 Howard was appointed to the professorship of painting in the Royal Academy, and the lectures which he delivered were published by his son, Frank Howard [q. v.], in 1848. In 1833, also, he exhibited his ‘Chaldean Shepherd contemplating the Heavenly Bodies,’ and in 1834 ‘The Gardens of Hesperus.’ His next important work was an adaptation of the ‘Solar System’ for the ceiling of the Duchess of Sutherland’s boudoir at Stafford House, executed in 1834, and followed in 1835 by subjects from the story of ‘Pandora,’ and in 1837 by a modification of Guido’s ‘Aurora’ for ceilings in the Soane Museum. He also drew from life the illustrations for Walker’s work on ‘Beauty,’ published in 1836. Among his later works may be noted ‘The Infant Bacchus brought by Mercury to the Nymphs of Nysa,’ exhibited in 1836; ‘The Rising of the Pleiades,’ 1839; ‘The Rape of Proserpine,’ 1840; and ‘A Mermaid sitting on a Dolphin’s back,’ 1841; the first and last being replicas on a larger scale of earlier works. Howard took part unsuccessfully in the Westminster Hall competition of 1842. He continued to exhibit, but with rapidly failing powers, until 1847, when, much to the regret of his friends, he sent to Westminster Hall a second cartoon, ‘Satyrs finding a Sleeping Cyclops.’ Howard died at Oxford on 5 Oct. 1847.

As an artist Howard was never popular. His early works were his best, and many of them were engraved for the ‘Literary Souvenir,’ ‘Keepsake,’ ‘Gem,’ and other annuals. His art is seen to highest advantage in the Soane Museum, Lincoln’s Inn Fields, and in Lord Leconfield’s collection at Petworth House, Sussex. The Vernon Collection at the National Gallery includes ‘The Flower Girl,’ a replica of the portrait of the painter’s daughter exhibited in 1824; it has been engraved by F. R. Wagner, and is now on loan to the Corporation of Stockport. The South Kensington Museum contains his ‘Sabrina,’ exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1821; and ‘Pygmalion.’ The National Portrait Gallery possesses portraits by him of James Watt, William Hayley, John Flaxman, R.A., Mrs. Flaxman, and Mrs. Trimmer.

[Memoir by his son, Frank Howard, prefixed to his ‘Course of Lectures on Painting,’ 1848; Times, 9 Oct. 1847; Athenæum, 1847, pp. 1059, 1176, partly reprinted in Gent. Mag. 1847, ii. 646–8; Art Journal, 1847, p. 378; Bryan's Dict. of Painters and Engravers, ed. Graves, 1886–9, i. 684; Sandby's Hist. of the Royal Academy of Arts, 1862, i. 329–31; Redgrave's