Born 12 August 1843, died 16 April 1911. Howard's mother had been a pupil of Peter DeWint. Although she died soon after his birth, the young Howard was surrounded by examples of her work. While a schoolboy at Eton, he filled sketchbooks with pencil drawings of his fellows and of landscape and topographical studies. In 1860, as an undergraduate at Cambridge, he read [Ruskin's] Modern Painters, and the watercolors that he did as a young man are distinctly Ruskinian.
The Howard family was aristocratic, influential, and enormously rich. Although George Howard was forty-six before he succeeded to the earldom [in 1889] and estates in Cumberland, Yorkshire, and Northumberland, he had, nonetheless, always enjoyed a privileged way of life. Under no pressure to earn a living, he could afford to travel abroad to study works of art and to indulge an interest in painting. In the winter of 1865-1866 Howard traveled to Italy with his wife [Rosalind Frances, youngest daughter of the 2nd Baron Stanley of Alderley, d. 1921], looking at pictures and wherever possible meeting artists. In Rome they made friends with Giovanni Costa, who became the principal influence on Howard's painting, and who in turn received professional support from Howard. In 1883-1884 Howard was a founder member of the Etruscan School - that loose association of English, Italian, and American painters, all of whom were friends and acolytes of Costa.
...Howard shared with Hercules Brabazon Brabazon the rare distinction of being an amateur whose works were honored by contemporary professional artists. Costa may have disapproved of the use of watercolor, but others encouraged Howard's work in the medium - not least his friend Edward Burne-Jones. Howard's paintings and watercolors were not for sale; nevertheless, he participated enthusiastically in the exhibitions of his day. His work was first presented to the general public in 1867, when he sent watercolors to the Dudley Gallery. Subsequently he was a mainstay of the Grosvenor and New galleries. He also occasionally exhibited at the Royal Academy and eventually became an honorary member of the Royal Society of Painters in water-Colours. (Christopher Newall, Victorian Landscape Watercolors [exh. cat. Yale Center for British Art] (New Haven, 1992), 93.