Research Led Me Here...(Jane Morris, The Howards & Tennyson)

While reading The Collected Letters of Jane Morris, I found it interesting getting to know Jane Morris much better and shedding some light on such an elusive woman. In her letters written within the year 1870, she mentions close friends George and Rosalind Howard. I'm not familiar with either of them but two things stood out to me: George (James) Howard was the 9th Earl of Carlisle and painted a portrait of Jane and William Morris' daughters Jenny and May Morris. Also, another residence was mentioned Naworth Castle.

As usual, I did some digging and thanks to modern technology and International archives, I found some photos of The Howards along with a very close personal friend, Alfred Tennyson!  A photograph of him I have never seen before. I'll add the link as well later on in the post. 

GEORGE HOWARD, 9TH DUKE OF CARLISLE AND HIS WIFE ROSALIND outside Castle Howard, Photograph housed at Sothebys

George James Howard (1843-1911), later 9th Earl of Carlisle, was Liberal MP for East Cumberland 1879-80 and 1881-5. He gave Morris & Co. several important commissions. An artist who exhibited at the Dudley, Grosvenor and New Galleries Howard was also a trustee of the National Gallery. (Collected Letters, pg. 43)

Rosalind Frances Howard (1845-1921), daughter of Lord Stanley of Alderley. In 1864 she married the Hon. George Howard, heir to the Earldom of Carlisle. The Howards had eleven children: five daughters,Mary Cecilia, Elizabeth (who died in infancy), Dorothy and Aurea and six sons, Charles, Hubert, Christopher, Oliver, Geoffrey and Michael. Jane Morris met the Howards in 1870 and they remained friends throughout Jane Morris' life. Rosalind was an ardent Liberal and active in Women's Suffrage, Irish Home Rule and Temperance organizations. In a memoir her daughter Dorothy (later Lady Henley) describes frequent instances of her mother's tyrannical and difficult behaviour. However, Jane Morris seems always to have enjoyed warm relations with Rosalind. (Collected Letters, pg. 41-42)

George Howard the 9th Earl with his 6 sons, property of Naworth Castle website

Jane Morris Letters to George and Rosalind Howard during the year 1870
(Jenny was nine years old in 1870 and May was eight years old in 1870. At the time the letters were written they were making an extended stay with the Howards at Naworth Castle, Cumberland)

Letter #1

To Rosalind Howard                                                        July 6th 1870 
Dear Ms. Howard
  it is so kind of you taking so much interest in my little ones - they write to me they are so happy, and you do so many things to amuse them -
   Do not trouble to write very often. I am not at all anxious about them. 
They have inherited from their Papa that precious gift of enjoyment
it is a gift and not an acquirement. Are they not merry things? They are
so fond of little children as they call everyone the least mite less than 

  Their Papa talks of coming to fetch them home when the time is up 
- he is hard at work just now and will be so glad of a day or two in the country.

                                                                                      Yours sincerely
                                                                                       Jane Morris 

Letter #2

To Rosalind Howard                                                           Wednesday (late summer 1870)
My dear Mrs. Howard
   I have to return you many thanks for all your kindness to my children 
they seem to have been in Paradise - and they look quite different beings, 
so much stronger and fuller of life - they are not likely to forget you - or 
anyone at Naworth. Jenny begs you will send her a bit of your hair for her

  I am glad my husband made himself agreeable and did not quarrel with
you past forgiveness, as a last shaft - he says he shall be only too delighted
to let the children visit you every year till you are "Lady Carlisle."
  Remember me to your husband and thank him for me too - I shall  
look forward to seeing his portraits of Jenny and May when you return to 
Town in the Autumn. 
                                                                                    Yours affectionately
                                                                                     Jane Morris 

 George Howard, Jenny & May Morris, 1870 (plate II) (Collected Letters of Jane Morris) Housed Society of Antiquaries London Collection

Letter # 3

To George Howard                                                               26 Queen Square
                                                                                         Decb. 19th (1870)

Dear Mr. Howard
  When I came home last week I was delighted to find your little picture 
awaiting me, it is so very like Jenny and May and such a pretty picture
altogether. it was so kind of you to give it to me - it is the only likeness
I have of them so that I prize it all the more, thank you very much for it
and for all your kindness to them in the flesh - May, I believe is writing a
Journal of all their proceedings at Naworth -
  They both send love and join with me in wising you all a happy

                                                                             Yours sincerely
                                                                              Jane Morris

         Lord Tennyson with Rosalind Howard

For information about The Howards, Naworth Castle, to see photos,  Naworth Castle

Feel free to leave comments,



Kevin Marsh said…
Hello Kimberly.

This is interesting and some great photographs. I wonder why the children were on an extended stay and away from their mother. The little painting of the girls is fantastic, its also interesting to observe that this was the first likeness their mother had of her children.
Thank you for sharing this.

Kind regards
Kimberly Eve said…
Hi Kevin,
I was wondering why the children would be on an extended stay as well. This information was mentioned in the chapter footnotes but I'll re-read it, maybe I missed something! Isn't it great we have that painting! So lovely. Jane's letters are so interesting. An amazing critique of the Victorian era and the nineteenth-century.
Kimberly Eve said…
Just an update: I went back and re-read the chapter regarding Jenny and May Morris staying with The Howards at Naworth Castle. It is mentioned only that Jane Morris suffered from gynecological issues and often travelled away to a 'spa' and when she came back she felt better. She was able to do more physical things, such as walking two miles, she mentions. So, I can only guess that when she tells Rosalind Howard of her 'illness' perhaps she went to another spa, as she did the year before in 1869. William Morris himself said she looked better upon her return. It would make sense for the girls to visit close friends while Jane was away and William Morris was home writing.

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