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Robert Howlett

(1831-1858), Photographer

Artist associated with 12 portraits
Howlett came to prominence through his partnership with Joseph Cundall, but the virtuosity of his work suggests he was practising long before they worked together. His best-known work is the series on the Great Eastern (1857), which includes the iconic portrait of Isambard Kingdom Brunel. At his death it was suggested that Howlett might have inadvertently poisoned himself with his own photographic chemicals: this was not at all uncommon.

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Isambard Kingdom Brunel, by Robert Howlett - NPG P112

Isambard Kingdom Brunel

by Robert Howlett
albumen print, November 1857
On display in Room 29 at the National Portrait Gallery
NPG P112

Isambard Kingdom Brunel, by Robert Howlett - NPG P662

Isambard Kingdom Brunel

by Robert Howlett
albumen print, November 1857
NPG P662

Isambard Kingdom Brunel, by Robert Howlett, and  George Downes - NPG P1979

Isambard Kingdom Brunel

by Robert Howlett, and George Downes
albumen stereoscopic card, (November 1857)
NPG P1979

Isambard Kingdom Brunel, by Robert Howlett, published by  London Stereoscopic & Photographic Company - NPG x5177

Isambard Kingdom Brunel

by Robert Howlett, published by London Stereoscopic & Photographic Company
albumen carte-de-visite, November 1857
NPG x5177

Isambard Kingdom Brunel, by Robert Howlett, published by  London Stereoscopic & Photographic Company - NPG x4836

Isambard Kingdom Brunel

by Robert Howlett, published by London Stereoscopic & Photographic Company
albumen carte-de-visite, November 1857
NPG x4836

William Mulready, by Cundall, Downes & Co, after  Robert Howlett - NPG Ax14805

William Mulready

by Cundall, Downes & Co, after Robert Howlett
albumen carte-de-visite, 1860-1865 (circa 1858)
NPG Ax14805

William Mulready, by Cundall, Downes & Co, after  Robert Howlett - NPG Ax11914

William Mulready

by Cundall, Downes & Co, after Robert Howlett
albumen carte-de-visite, 1860-1865 (circa 1858)
NPG Ax11914

William Mulready, by Robert Howlett - NPG x21451

William Mulready

by Robert Howlett
albumen print on card mount, circa 1858
NPG x21451

Isambard Kingdom Brunel, by Horace Harral, published by  Illustrated Times, after a photograph by  Robert Howlett - NPG D1127

Isambard Kingdom Brunel

by Horace Harral, published by Illustrated Times, after a photograph by Robert Howlett
wood engraving, published 16 January 1858 (November 1857)
NPG D1127

Robert Stephenson, by Horace Harral, after a photograph by  Robert Howlett - NPG D6865

Robert Stephenson

by Horace Harral, after a photograph by Robert Howlett
wood engraving, 1858
NPG D6865

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Michael Pritchard

26 October 2016, 08:43

You have Howlett's date of birth wrong (it is also incorrect in the DNB). He was born on 3 July 1831. This information comes from parish registers. His wiki entry has been updated. He was baptised on 25 September 1831, again based on the parish registers.

John Bowden

15 May 2016, 13:33

The portrait of Brunel and others ( ref NPG P663 ) gives it a date of 1857. In 1857 the first attempt at the launching of the Great Eastern was made but this picture is one from the successful 2nd attempt at launching on 31st January 1858. ( I have a print of it ). There is a similar picture, allegedly of the first attempt, which show similar figures but dressed in different clothes with one or two addition people in the picture. Unless the descriptions are the wrong way round the date on yours is wrong.

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