Saturday, October 4, 2014

The Death of a Saint's Son and a Blessed's Father

On October 4, 1646, Thomas Howard, 21st Earl of Arundel and 1st Earl of Norfolk, and Earl Marshal died--also known as the "Collector Earl" for amassing a fine array of ancient marbles and Renaissance paintings. He was the son of St. Philip Howard, who died in the Tower of London after asking to see him, who had been born after Philip was imprisoned--that request being denied by Elizabeth I's government unless he renounced his Catholicism and become an Anglican (heartless!).

James I restored the family Earldom and some of the estates to Thomas in 1604. He then married a wealthy noblewoman, Alethea Talbot, in 1606. Thomas Howard evidently swore oaths of loyalty to both James I and Charles I--because he served in their governments and courts--although he returned to the Catholic Church sometime before his death. He died near Padua, Italy, having accompanied Princess Mary to Holland for her marriage to William II; he chose to remain on the Continent because of the troubles between Charles I and Parliament.

Thomas and Alethea Howard had three children, one of whom, William Howard, 1st Viscount Stafford, would be accused, because of his Catholicism, in the Popish Plot, executed on December 29, 1680 and beatified by Pope Pius XI in 1929. Howard's eldest surviving son, Henry Howard, would succeed him as the 22nd Earl of Arundell--one of his nine sons would be Philip Cardinal Howard, a Dominican and later grand almoner, in charge of charity, for Charles II's queen, Catherine of Braganza.

The portrait above is by Anthony van Dyck and is on view at The Getty Center of Los Angeles. The Getty Center makes the image available in its Open Content Program. Of the portrait, the website notes:

Depicted three-quarter length, the Earl of Arundel sits before a tapestry curtain on the left and a landscape background on the right. The long, tapering fingers of his left hand hold the gold medallion of Saint George, one of the emblems worn by the twenty-four knights who made up the most eminent and noble circle around the king. His elongated, pale face contrasts with the white ruff around his neck and the scarlet chair upon which he sits. Turned slightly towards the viewer, the expression on Arundel's face is alert but reserved.

Arundel was one of the great patrons and collectors of art in England in the early 1600s. He was best known for his collection of Venetian paintings, which included works by Titian, Tintoretto, and Veronese. During a brief first visit to London around 1621, Anthony van Dyck was commissioned to paint this portrait for Arundel, who recognized the young artist's talent.

No comments:

Post a Comment