The Gallery holds the most extensive collection of portraits in the world. Search over 215,000 works, 150,000 of which are illustrated from the 16th Century to the present day.

Advanced Collection search

Search the Collection

Robert Howlett

(1831-1858), Photographer

Artist associated with 13 portraits
Robert Howlett began taking photographs in 1852 but came to prominence through his work with The Photographic Institution in New Bond Street, London, established in 1853 by Joseph Cundall and Phillip Delamotte. He was commissioned by Queen Victoria and Prince Albert to copy the works of Raphael and to create a series of portraits of soldiers of the Crimean War, but his best known photographs are those of Brunel and the Great Eastern. His death, at the age of just twenty-seven, was seemingly caused by Typhoid fever.

Tell us More

 Like voting
is closed

Thanks for Liking

Please Like other favourites!
If they inspire you please support our work.

Make a donation Close



Tell us more back to top

Can you tell us more about this person? Spotted an error, information that is missing (a sitter’s life dates, occupation or family relationships, or a date of portrait for example) or do you know anything that we don't know? If you have information to share please complete the form below.

If you require information from us, please use our Archive enquiry service. You can buy a print of most illustrated portraits. Select the portrait of interest to you, then look out for a Buy a Print button. Prices start at £6 for unframed prints, £25 for framed prints. If you wish to license an image, please use our Rights and Images service.

Please note that we cannot provide valuations.

We digitise over 8,000 portraits a year and we cannot guarantee being able to digitise images that are not already scheduled.

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.

What can you tell us?close

There are occasions when we are unsure of the identity of a sitter or artist, their life dates, occupation or have not recorded their family relationships. Sometimes we have not recorded the date of a portrait. Do you have specialist knowledge or a particular interest about any aspect of the portrait or sitter or artist that you can share with us? We would welcome any information that adds to and enhances our information and understanding about a particular portrait, sitter or artist.


How do you know this? Please could you let us know your source of information.

* Permission to publish (Privacy information)
Privacy Informationclose

The National Portrait Gallery will NOT use your information to contact you or store for any other purpose than to investigate or display your contribution. By ticking permission to publish you are indicating your agreement for your contribution to be shown on this collection item page. Please note your email address will not be displayed on the page nor will it be used for any marketing material or promotion of any kind.

Please ensure your comments are relevant and appropriate. Your contributions must be polite and with no intention of causing trouble. All contributions are moderated.

Your Emailclose

Contributions are moderated. We'll need your email address so that we can follow up on the information provided and contact you to let you know when your contribution has been published.


Scientific techniques

Watch our playlist exploring scientific techniques used by the Gallery to unlock the secrets behind our Tudor portraits.

Watch now

Subjects and themes

Search the collection by themes - from pets to weddings!

Discover the Collection

Black History Month

Take a tour exploring our Collection created by Alayo Akinkugbe for Black History Month in 2020.

Take the tour

A Picture of Health

Learn about pioneers in medicine, health and social reform from 1840 to 1920.

Explore the timeline