Pre 1897 thumbnails

click here for the Devonshire House Ball thumbnail page

Neg. No: GP (L) 1413
Neg. Size: 15"x12"
Neg. Date: 07-07-1897

copyright V&A


Richard George Penn Curzon-Howe, Viscount Curzon, later 4th Earl Howe (1861-1929); Conservative MP, 1885-1900; Treasurer of the Household, 1896-1900; Lord Chamberlain to Queen Alexandra, 1903-1925.

Isabella, Countess Howe (d 1922), née Isabella Maria Katherine Anson; eldest daughter of Major-General Hon George Anson; m (1858) 3rd Earl Howe.


(4th Earl Howe) Admiral Earl Howe (1726-1799), after Gainsborough;

(Countess Howe) Lady Howe AD 1796, after Gainsborough.

Date: 7 July 1897.

Occasion: The Devonshire House Ball, 2 July 1897.

Location: The Lafayette Studio, 179 New Bond Street, London, W.

Descr: FL.

Costume: (4th Earl Howe) Costume based on the undress uniform of a mid-18th century British naval commodore, after the portrait of Richard, 1st Earl Howe by Thomas Gainsborough, c. 1764. (Countess Howe) elements of the costume including the lace apron, based on the companion portrait of Mary Hartopp, Countess Howe by Thomas Gainsborough, c. 1764.

Accessories: (4th Earl Howe) Sword presented to Admiral, 1st Earl Howe by King George III as a victory trophy on 26 June 1794 to commemorate the British naval victory known as 'The Glorious First of June 1794', the hilt in blue enamel and gold, inset with diamonds; a chain, worn round the neck, probably representing the chain given by George III on 26 June 1794 to 1st Earl Howe and other senior naval officers; insignia of the Order of the Garter, (Admiral, 1st Earl Howe was made a Knight of the Garter in 1797).

Furniture & Props: Louis XV-style giltwood canapé; Louis XV-style carved wood and fabric-mounted folding screen; studio Persian rug.

Photographer: The firm of J. Lafayette, 179 New Bond Street, London, W.

Evidence of studio at work: Curved studio roof visible above backdrop; studio light top right-hand corner of plate.

No of poses: 2 (see also neg no 1412).

1374.jpg (80379 bytes) copyright V&A
Countess Howe Earl Howe and Lady Howe
copyright V&A  
Earl Howe and Lady Howe Earl Howe  

Copyright: V&A

All images on this site are copyright V&A. For further information on using or requesting copies of any images
please contact the V&A Picture Library: including the URL of the relevant page

Provenance: Pinewood Studios; acquired 1989.


Biog: Burke's Peerage; The Complete Peerage; (4th Earl Howe) The Times, 11 January 1929, p 11d; (Countess Howe) The Times, 31 March 1922, p 15b.

Occasion: Sophia Murphy, The Duchess of Devonshire's Ball, London, 1984.

Role and costume: The Times, 3 July 1897, p 12d; The Daily Telegraph, 3 July 1897, p 10a; Truth, 8 July 1897, p 108b; Vanity Fair, 8 July 1897, p 27b; The Court Journal, 10 July 1897, p 1249a; Anne French ed, The Earl and Countess Howe by Gainsborough: A Bicentenary Exhibition, London, 1988.

Accessories: Anne French, op cit, p 10 & p 90; Dictionary of National Biography (entry - Howe, Richard, Earl Howe); Diana Scarisbrick, Ancestral Jewels, London, 1989, pp 172-173.

Reproduced: Devonshire House Fancy Dress Ball, July 2 1897: A Collection of Portraits in Costume of Some of the Guests, privately printed, 1899, (version of Earl Curzon alone - p 171) (version of Countess Howe alone - p 182) (National Portrait Gallery Archives.)