George & Jane Howman

John Field (1772-1848)


This handsome pair of gilded profiles were painted in 1821 to mark the marriage in November that year of the Rev. George Ernest Howman and Jane Knightley. The marriage was announced by the Oxford Journal

On Thursday last, was married at St Mary-le-bone Church, London, by the Rev Arthur Edward Howman, Vicar of Shiplake, the Rev George Ernest Howman, of Balliol College to Jane Sarah Wightwick, eldest daughter of the late John Wightwick Knightley Esq. of Offchurch Bury, Warwickshire.

Born in 1797, Jane Sarah Wightwick Knightly was brought up at Offchurch Bury, a fine historic manor house in Warwickshire. Also born in 1797, her husband George Ernest Howman was the son of a vicar and he too joined the Church after graduating from Oxford. The couple set up home at Newbold Pacey Hall near Stratford-upon-Avon and had four children. Jane died in 1845 at the age of 48. George Ernest married a second time at the age of 56 and had another son. He was 81 when he died in 1878.

The profiles are finely painted on plaster and are neatly gilded. Jane is shown in an empire-line dress with a frilled neckline, her hair curled and upswept. George wears a double-breasted coat over a shirt with a standing collar, his hair fashionably brushed forward with side-whiskers.

In fine condition (there is one small ding to the plaster just by Jane’s bust-line which is barely visible and would always have been there), the pair are presented with gilt-metal mounts in matching original frames with elongated leaf hangers. Both are inscribed reverse but only one profile is backed with the artist’s trade label.

Master profilist John Field (1772-1848) worked alongside John Miers in his studio on The Strand. Miers only produced plain profiles whereas Field excelled at gilding and painted his finest and most attractive profiles during the 1810s and 1820s. The two men enjoyed a partnership and friendship of long standing that continued until Miers died in 1821. The business was then willed jointly to John Field and Miers’s son, William, but the dynamics had clearly been altered too much as within a few years the business filed for bankruptcy. Field continued to paint profiles during the 1830s but from a studio that he now shared with his own son.

Item Ref. 7032

Size: framed, 154 x 134mm (6 x 5¼")

Provenance: Newbold Pacey Hall, Stratford