Papers of Francis Howard, painter, art critic and gallery director

Archive Collection

Scope and Content

Francis Howard was a painter, art critic, exhibition organiser, and at various times Managing Director of the Grafton and Grosvenor Galleries, Director of National Loan Exhibitions, and Chairman of the National Portrait Society. This collection includes business papers relating to the Grafton Gallery and the Gallery Club, 1891-1909, and business papers and correspondence relating to the Grosvenor Gallery and National Loan Exhibitions, 1910-1917. The file of correspondence mainly relates to gifts of paintings made by Francis Howard to various galleries between 1915 and 1954, and the press cuttings cover all aspects of Francis Howard's life and work between 1891 and 1951.

Administrative / Biographical History

Francis Howard was born in 1874, the great grandson of Benjamin Franklin. He was educated at St. Edmund's and St. Augustine's Roman Catholic Colleges, and then in Germany, Geneva and Paris. He studied art in Paris and London, and in 1897 founded the International Society of Sculptors, Painters and Gravers. At the turn of the century, Howard acted as the representative for a group of American artists, resident in Europe, who felt the need for an American national gallery. In 1900, he travelled to America to gather funding and support for the project. In 1901, he organised the art section of the Woman's Exhibition at Earl's Court. In 1903, Howard married L. Chess of Louisville, USA, with whom he had one son. In 1907, he was Chairman and Special Commissioner of the British Art and Antiquarian Committee, for the Jamestown Exposition. In 1909, he organised an Exhibition of Chosen Pictures at the Grafton Galleries, and his first National Loan Exhibition. He continued to do the Loan exhibitions in 1913-14 and 1914-15.

In 1910, Howard founded the National Portrait Society and organised their first exhibitions in Oldham and Bradford. In 1911, he organised the Society's inaugural London exhibition. Howard himself exhibited widely throughout Europe and America, and was for many years the art critic of the 'Weekly Sun' and a contributor of art, dramatic and literary criticism and verse to many periodicals. He was the Honourary Managing Director of the Grafton and Grosvenor Galleries, a Director of The Sun and other newspapers, Chairman of the National Portrait Society, Director of National Loan Exhibitions and a Chevalier of the Crown of Belgium. Francis Howard died in October 1954.

Arrangement

The items are arranged according to diplomatic form: TGA 737/1-11 business papers; TGA 737/12-47 correspondence, arranged chronologically; and TGA 737/48-51 press cuttings.

Conditions Governing Access

Open.

Other Finding Aids

Paper list available.

Custodial History

Presented by the Executrix of the Francis Howard estate in 1955, transferred to the Archive in 1973.

Related Material

Goupil Gallery file of correspondence, some reference to Francis Howard, 1902-1936 (TGA 8314/1/3/41), William Reid Dick file of correspondence, some reference to Francis Howard, 1940-1945 (TGA 8110/4/38). Correspondence between Howard and Whistler is held at Glasgow University Library Special Collections Department.