This is a view of the Baths of Caracalla, Rome, which were built during the reign of Emperor Caracalla between AD 211 and 216. It was painted as a result of a visit to Rome in 1886, when Carlisle sketched with Italian artist Giovanni Costa. Another watercolour version of the composition by Carlisle is in the Castle Howard Collection. The bright green lizards, seen in the foreground of this painting, are not included in the watercolour.
Painter and politician George James Howard studied in Italy under Giovanni Costa and at the South Kensington School of Art, before exhibiting at the Grosvenor Gallery from 1868. In 1879 he was elected Liberal MP for East Cumberland. His wide circle of artistic and literary friends included William Morris, Edward Burne-Jones, Arthur Hughes, Walter Crane, Frederic Leighton, Alfred Tennyson and Robert Browning. Howard travelled extensively, making sketching trips through Italy, Egypt, India, South Africa and the West Indies. From 1881 he served on the board of Trustees of the National Gallery, later becoming Chairman. In 1889 he inherited the title ninth Earl of Carlisle. Howard continued to paint until his death, from heart failure, aged 67.
Printed and typed label on verso of frame: Established 1876 / The Fine Art Society Ltd / 148 New Bond St London W1Y 0JT / 12 Great King St Edinburgh EH3 6QL / No. 5872 Date July 1978 / The Baths of Caracalla, Rome / GEORGE HOWARD, EARL OF CARLISLE / 1843 - 1911 / Provenance: Lawrence Toynbee
Collection of Lawrence Toynbee (grandson of the artist); acquired ‘via’ William Waters of the Norham House Gallery, Cockermouth, by the Fine Art Society, London; from whom purchased by the Department of the Environment in July 1978
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