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

John Howard

(1726?-1790), Prison reformer

Mid-Georgian Portraits Catalogue Entry

Sitter in 7 portraits
Prison reformer and social campaigner. Howard himself experienced imprisonment in France in 1756. It was not until 1773 when he became High Sherriff of Bedfordshire that he initiated an important campaign to transform prison conditions. His long series of visits to prisons in Britain and most European countries led him to write his influential book The State of the Prisons, first published in 1777. A highly reserved man, Howard shunned public recognition throughout his life.

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

List Thumbnail

John Howard, by and published by M. Davis - NPG D14987

John Howard

by and published by M. Davis
line engraving, published 9 May 1787
NPG D14987

John Howard ('The triumph of benevolence'), by James Gillray, published by  Robert Wilkinson - NPG D13059

John Howard ('The triumph of benevolence')

by James Gillray, published by Robert Wilkinson
stipple and line engraving, published 21 April 1788
NPG D13059

John Howard, by Edmund Scott, after  Mather Brown - NPG D36010

John Howard

by Edmund Scott, after Mather Brown
stipple engraving, (1789)
NPG D36010

John Howard, by Edmund Scott, after  Mather Brown - NPG D19492

John Howard

by Edmund Scott, after Mather Brown
stipple engraving, (1789)
NPG D19492

John Howard, by Antoine Maurin, printed by  François Le Villain, after  Mather Brown - NPG D36011

John Howard

by Antoine Maurin, printed by François Le Villain, after Mather Brown
lithograph, 1820s-1830s (1789)
NPG D36011

John Howard, by William Daniell, after  George Dance - NPG D12202

John Howard

by William Daniell, after George Dance
soft-ground etching, published 1854? (1794)
NPG D12202


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.

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.


Our channel

View a wide collection of video content on our YouTube channel from past projects to our latest films.

Sit back and watch

Artist and sitter interviews

Get insights into creating portraiture from BP Portrait Award 2020 artists and their sitters.

Explore behind the scenes

Sleeping Awake

Watch our film created to say ‘goodbye’ to the Gallery before we closed for our major transformation project.

Hear our story