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William Howley

© National Portrait Gallery, London

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William Howley

by William Owen
oil on canvas, circa 1823-1825
49 1/4 in. x 39 1/4 in. (1251 mm x 997 mm)
Purchased, 1909
Primary Collection
NPG 1552

Sitterback to top

  • William Howley (1766-1848), Archbishop of Canterbury. Sitter associated with 29 portraits.

Artistback to top

  • William Owen (1769-1825), Painter. Artist associated with 97 portraits.

Linked publicationsback to top

  • Foister, Susan, Cardinal Newman 1801-90, 1990 (accompanying the exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery from 2 March - 20 May 1990), p. 21 Read entry

    William Howley, Regius Professor of Divinity at Oxford (1809-13), was made Bishop of London in 1813, and Archbishop of Canterbury in 1828. As Archbishop his period of office coincided with proposals for a number of measures which would reduce the standing of the Church of England if implemented; there was a widespread fear among Anglicans that the disestablishment of the Church would follow. Archbishop Howley unsuccessfully opposed the bill for Catholic emancipation in 1829 and the Irish Temporalities Bill in 1833, in which it was proposed to dissolve then Irish bishoprics, as well as the 1832 Reform Bill, which he thought would be 'dangerous to the fabric of the constitution'. Newman wished Howley 'had somewhat of the boldness of the old Catholic Prelates', although he added, 'no one can doubt he is a man of the highest principle, and would willingly die a Martyr'. (Ian Ker, John Henry Newman: His Life & Work, London, 1982).

    This is the second of two portraits of Howley by Owen, both painted when he was Bishop of London.

  • Saywell, David; Simon, Jacob, Complete Illustrated Catalogue, 2004, p. 318
  • Walker, Richard, Regency Portraits, 1985, p. 265

Subjects & Themesback to top

Events of 1823back to top

Current affairs

Gaols Act is passed to build new prisons, raise standards in old ones and institute regular inspections. It is prompted by the vigorous campaigning of reformers such as Elizabeth Fry, leader of the Ladies Association for the Improvement of Female Prisoners in Newgate Prison.
Anti-Slavery Committee is founded in London.

Art and science

Architect, Robert Smirke begins construction of the British Museum.
Thomas Wakley founds The Lancet, the first weekly medical journal and important mouthpiece of medical reform.
Charles Babbage begins work on the first calculating machine.
Charles Macintosh invents waterproof fabric.

International

Catholic Association is founded by Daniel O'Connell in Ireland in an attempt to mobilise and politicise the entire Irish Catholic population in a systematic challenge to the ruling Protestant ascendancy.
War breaks out between France and Spain.
English missionary John Smith died in prison having been sentenced to be hanged for failing to take up arms against slaves in Demerara.

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