Samuel Howitt (British, 1765-1822), Monkey
Samuel Howitt (British, 1765-1822)
Signed Howitt 1.1.
Paper size: 3 1/4 x 4 1/8"
Frame size: 15 1/4 x 14 1/4"
A country gentleman from Chigwell, in Essex, Samuel Howitt's initial artistic efforts were somewhat crude, but his natural talents quickly and skillfully progressed to a remarkable degree. Some of his individual works were exhibited at the Royal Academy between 1783 and 1815.
Howitt's habit of drawing animals from life at the Tower of London was the basis of the 1811 A New Work of Animals, 56 carefully executed designs based on the fables of Aesop. It is likely that the Tower of London was also the source for watercolors of animals and birds original held in two albums, some presented here.
A companion album to this collection is now in London's Natural History Museum and forms part of the holdings of the famed banker, Baron Rothschild of Tring. Rothschild was a keen amateur scientist and from the age of seven started collecting specimens. He founded the Zoological Museum at Tring, opening it to the public in 1892.
It is not known when the two albums of Howitt's drawings were divided and thus difficult to establish a definite provenance to the Rothschild collection for grououng pictured here. However, they are fine examples of the work of one of the leading natural history painters of the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries.