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  • image BR21
Bust of Henry Howard (1769-1847). SM BR21. ©Sir John Soane's Museum, London. Photo: Lewis Bush

John Flaxman RA (1755 - 1826), sculptor

Bust of the painter Henry Howard (1769-1847)


Height: 22.9cm
Width: 10.8cm

Museum number: BR21

On display: Breakfast Room
All spaces are in No. 13 Lincoln's Inn Fields unless identified as in No. 12, Soane's first house. For tours https://www.soane.org/your-visit

Curatorial note

Howard was a portrait and history painter who was a close friend of Soane. He started studying with the painter Philip Reinagle in 1786 and from 1788 was a student at the Royal Academy Schools where he was awarded a silver medal for life drawing and then the gold medal for history painting. He was elected a full member of the Royal Academy in 1808 and exhibited there until his death. In 1811 he became Secretary of the Academy and in 1833 he was appointed Professor of Painting. During the 1830s when Soane's failing sight prevented him from delivering his Royal Academy lectures, Howard read them for him.

Amongst Howard's works are portraits of the sculptor of this bust, John Flaxman, Professor of Sculpture at the Royal Academy, and his wife Anne (National Portrait Gallery NPG 674 and 675), painted c.1797, perhaps at around the time that this terracotta was modelled. A much later portrait of Flaxman by Howard is in the UCL Art Museum (LDUCS: PC5525).

This bust of Howard is placed on the mantlepiece in Soane's Breakfast Room in such a way that it looks towards his painting of The Contention of Oberon and Titania (Soane P152) and through a doorway towards his ceiling paintings in the Library Dining Room (Soane P1-7).

No marble version of this bust is known.

Provenance help-art-provenance

Acquired from Flaxman's sister-in-law Maria Denman in October 1836


Helen Dorey ‘Soane and Flaxman’ in Flaxman: Master of the Purest Line, Exhibition Catalogue, Sir John Soane’s Museum 2003, p.31, 34 and p.35 f.n.55

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