About

Who was Albany E Howarth?

 
Albany Howarth was a self taught etcher and watercolour artist born in 1872. He became interested in etching as a technique in the early part of the 20th Century, and from 1907 began drawing and printing regularly. He travelled widely in England, Scotland, France Spain and Italy, and specialised in architectural and landscape subject matter. For the last few years of his life he lived and worked in Watford where he died in November 1936. For more detailed biographical notes, go to the biography page.  

Why put up the site?

As a long standing collector and enthusiast of Howarth’s pictures, I decided to set up a dedicated website intended to act as a central resource for collectors, researchers and gallery owners with an interest in his work.
I began collecting Howarth’s etchings about 20 years ago, but initially found it difficult to find reliable information. This site is intended to change that, and to ensure accuracy of information I have only used contemporaneous references.


Are there plans to develop the site further?


I hope that putting up the site will entice other collectors or any of you who own examples of Howarth’s work, to contribute pictures and information which will add to the material already present. You can contribute material via the Send Information tab on the main menu.


Those of you with pictures by Howarth which are not yet part of this archive, or with access to reliable articles or information sources would be very welcome to share what you have. Please read the section covering how to send information in to us.

How accurate is the material here?


Any information that I have included here is based on sound research from primary sources, and every attempt has been made to confirm its accuracy before including it.
Any material which is incomplete or unconfirmed has not been uploaded, and will remain on file until it can be verified from more than one source.

Much of the material you see here is based on my own picture collection, and other pictures included have been researched and verified to my satisfaction. I intend to maintain this standard as the site grows, because the whole point of this resource is that the information is reliable.


What references have been consulted?

Mainly those that were produced at the same time that Howarth was drawing and selling his etchings. Some of the major ones include;

Personal Collection: This means that the etching is in my own personal collection, where I can be certain of the title, measurements, plate inscriptions etc. Occasionally an etching reference is indicated as ‘Private Collection’, where the etching is in someone else’s personal collection, and they have shared information with me.


Dowdeswells Catalogue: This abbreviation appears in 60 or so of the Gallery entries. It refers to an Exhibition Catalogue produced for a major exhibition of Howarth’s work in 1912. The exhibition was sponsored by Dowdeswell and Dowdeswells and Colnaghi & Obach, both major picture dealers at the time. The catalogue contains pictures and detailed information on all of Howarth’s etchings produced up to 1912, and so is a major source for the early period of his career. Pictures and information from this catalogue appear throughout the site.

 

The Royal Society of Painter-Printmakers (RE) was founded as the Society of Painter-Etchers and Engravers in 1880. Howarth was elected an Associate of the Royal Society of Painter-Etchers in 1910 although he never became a Fellow.


Another principal reference was the archive containing the catalogues of the society, held at the Bankside Gallery in London. Howarth exhibited every year from 1911 through to 1920 with the exception of 1915. Exhibition sales catalogues are available for each year.


The Society also has a separate archive containing their diploma print collection which dates back to its inception in 1880. This collection consists of prints donated by members upon their election to the society. It is held at The Ashmolean Museum, Oxford. Howarth’s Diploma Plate was ‘Old Houses, Abbeville’, which can be seen in the site gallery.

Fine Art Trade Guild: Formed in 1910, the Fine Art Trade Guild is the successor to the Printsellers' Association which had been set up in 1847 with the intention of creating an independent body to control the quality of reproductions and the authentication (and quantity) of limited editions.


In order to achieve this, limited editions were stamped with an embossed stamp following approval by the Stamping Committee, later known as the Approval Committee. They ensured that all unstamped copies of the edition were destroyed as well as the plate (for etchings) or other means of reproduction so that no further copies could be made.


Howarth had 102 etchings approved by the Stamping Committee as limited editions and these bear the FATG stamp on the left lower margin of the picture.

The FATG Archive incorporates


•    Publications approved by the Printsellers Association 1847 - 1920
•    Publications approved by the Fine Art Trade Guild 1915 - 1997

Information has been obtained on all 102 etchings that Howarth had published and authenticated through the Fine Art Trade Guild and this is included within the relevant gallery entries.


Fine Art Trade Journal Article: An article entitled; ‘Etchers of Today –Albany E. Howarth’ from this journal, dated August 1919 was particularly useful for some biographical details on the man and how he worked.


Colnaghi Archive: I was fortunate enough to be granted access to Colnaghi’s sales and purchase ledgers from the period, which provided additional details on which of Howarth’s works they had handled, and some useful information on the prices they commanded.


Reference Books: Howarth’s works crop up in various publications; Modern Etchings, Mezzotints and Dry Points edited by Charles Holme and published by ‘The Studio’ Ltd, London, Paris and New York in 1913 being a good example.


What Information is available on each picture?


Some pictures have more information included than others, depending on the source for the information. For example; the Dowdeswells Exhibition Catalogue for 1912 lists detailed information, with a photograph of each etching, the title, and size, date of publication, original selling price, and quantity of the edition.


I have added additional notes such as supplementary information on location or other points of interest. I have also included a detailed description of the actual etching plate, including any inscriptions, signatures dates and so on which would help identify the picture.


Many pictures have all of this information, others don’t. Those pictures with incomplete information may be considered works in progress, and the profiles for each one will be updated as and when accurate information becomes available.

 
Pricing Information; those prices given are the original published prices which would have been charged at the point of sale. These are given in old style (pre-decimal) British currency in Pounds, Shillings and Pence. For those of you who have forgotten, there were 12 Pence to a Shilling, and 20 Shillings (or 240 Pence) to a Pound.


One Pound and One Shilling (Twenty one Shillings) were known as a ‘Guinea’ and Howarth’s pictures were often sold at two or more Guineas each, as he became more successful.


The term Guinea originates from a gold coin current in England between 1663 and 1817 originally made of gold from Guinea in West Africa. From 1717 its value was fixed at 21 Shillings, but the actual value varied throughout its life. (Source: Brewers Dictionary of Phrase and Fable 14th Edition –Revised Ivor H. Evans)


Currently there are about 170 pictures uploaded into the gallery section of the site, and the intention is to add to this collection as further information becomes available.