Continental European after 1800 18 Is this portrait of Cardinal Howard by a Roman artist, as the sitter was there in 1878?

Topic: Artist

Art UK: The National Trust would welcome suggestions about the artist. There is a label on the back of the stretcher (left side torn off): ‘[Ri]tratto fatto dal pittore / [G?]uidi ncl 1878’.

There has been another suggestion that the label could be a mistranscription of the name of Italian-born Argentine artist Reinaldo Giudici.

According to Wikipedia, Giudici received a grant in 1878 to travel to Italy but was forced to return to Argentina due to financial difficulties. He returned Italy in 1880.

The paint is laid on thickly and confidently, as in the touch of red for his cap and the shimmer of his cape. There are two attachments.

Martin Hopkinson, Entry reviewed by Art UK

2 attachments


Jacinto Regalado,

The letters before the date are probably nel, which would mean "in 1878," not ncl. Is it possible to have a close-up photo of the label?

Paul Nicholls,

A close-up of the label would be indeed be useful to check the name. I agree with Jacinto about the letters - must be "nel". At public exhibitions in Genova, Turin and Milan, between 1883 and 1884, Rinaldo Giudici exhibited over ten pictures, none of them portraits.

Jacinto Regalado,

Guidi is a known Italian surname, assuming that is the actual name of the painter. I tend to doubt this is by Reinaldo Giudici, who was only a student in 1878 and would have had no obvious connection to an English prelate. Also, he is said to have concentrated on social realist subjects in the earlier part of his career, only later turning to landscapes and portraits.

Kieran Owens,

I wonder if it just a coincidence that one of Howard's predecessors, as Cardinal-Bishop of the See of Frascati, between 1872 and 1879, was Cardinal Filippo Maria Guidi (1815 - 1879). Could the painter have been related to this latter man? Howard was, apparently, Guidi's assistant during that time.

Howard's Wikipedia entry outlines some of his career moves in the 1870s and 1880s:

"In June 1871, he was made titular Archbishop of Neocaesaria in partibus and assistant bishop to the Cardinal Bishop of Frascati. (He) was promoted to Cardinal-Priest of Ss. Giovanni e Paolo on 12 March 1877 and in 1878 appointed Protector of the English College at Rome, an institution to which he later left his valuable library. ...... He wanted to become a missionary in the East but the Pope Pius IX insisted that he stay in Rome. He served in pastoral ministry in Rome as confessor of the poor and the soldiers. In December 1881 he became Archpriest of Saint Peter's Basilica. On 24 March 1884 he became Cardinal-Bishop of the suburbicarian diocese of Frascati."

As Howard was Protector of the English College at Rome in 1878, it is possible that the portrait was painted in that place.

The date of the portrait is a significant one, as this was the year of the 1878 papal conclave, which was convened following the death of Pope Pius IX on 7th February. It met from the 18th to the 20th February and both Guidi and Howard were in attendance:

Given the presence in Rome in February 1878 of so many distinguished Catholic prelates, there might perhaps be other portraits from their number by the painter named Guidi from that same year.

Kieran Owens,

A very detailed biographical article on Howard, which contained an illustration very similar to this painting, appeared in The Graphic of Saturday 21st January 1882. The full article is attached. The illustration is after a photograph taken by "L. Suscipj, 48, Via Condotti, Rome". A composite is also attached showing how nearly identical are both images. This portrait could also have been painted after the same photograph. If so, it is quite likely that the photograph dates from 1878 or earlier.

Marcie Doran,

Two articles in the BNA (attached) about a painting of Cardinal Howard have caught my attention. Is the sitter wearing a "gold episcopal cross"? Could this be the 1884 work by the American artist Julian Story (1857–1919) and not a work from 1878?

Julian Story used to live at the Palazzo Barberini in Rome.

My composite compares this work to
'Louisa (1843–1920), Dowager Viscountess Wolseley' from 1884.

Osmund Bullock,

Marcie, your first attachment tells us that the portrait by Julian Story was painted for Howard's cousin the Duke of Norfolk, and this is likely to be the portrait still at Arundel Castle (see the link at the top to 'Open on collection website'). Certainly I see no reason why the Duke or his successors would have disposed of it, given their considerable wealth, ample wall space for hanging, and (most importantly) their pre-eminent position in the Catholic Church in England - all these being true throughout the years since it was painted by Story.

The same link says our portrait was probably given by the cardinal to his brother-in-law Richard Myddleton at Chirk Castle, and that it has remained with that family and/or at the castle ever since.

I also tend to think it's unlikely the damaged label would have got both artist *and* date wrong. On which subject, I'd be grateful if the National Trust could respond to our request of over a year ago to see a clear image of the label. The last 13 months have obviously not been easy, but please don't let this turn into a another multi-year wait to show us a label, like the Adye one at Cragside. If the NT want our help, they must understand that we need them to help us.

Osmund, I have emailed our Curatorial contact at the National Trust and asked for a photographed of the damaged label to be supplied for consideration by the contributors. Regards, David

Mark Wilson,

One possible candidate might be Guido Guidi (1835-1918) who according to his entry on the Istituto Matteucci dictionary of artists:

worked on various Roman churches in the 1860s and had paintings commissioned from him by Pius IX, who made Howard a Cardinal.

The only images I can find of figurative work by him are black and white and not particularly helpful on this list here:

but he does seem to be at the right place and time.

Jacinto Regalado,

The Guido Guidi who may be our painter should not be confused with another painter of the same name whose dates are 1901-1998.

Jacinto Regalado,

Based on the images of Guidi works at the link provided by Mark, his style was more academic and less "modern" than what is evident in our portrait. It is possible he used a different style for contemporary subjects, but that remains to be determined.

An old photograph of the reverse of the painting is attached. It shows the old inventory number and was taken 12 years ago when all the paintings were removed into store to allow a reservicing of the castle. The painting will be taken down again later this year, as it is due to be cleaned, at which point they will have another look to make sure it’s the same backing as in the photo.

Osmund Bullock,

Marion, is that the highest -res version of that photo available? If so, then I'd suggest a better snap be taken when the painting comes down** - at this resolution it's hard to be sure if that's '...uidi', and there seems to be a tiny bit showing of what precedes it, too. See attached image tweak. Unfortunately Getty's ULAN ( does not permit wildcard searches with a left-hand truncation - a rather annoying deficiency.

[**the Collection might also consider protecting what remains of the label behind a piece of clear plastic taped to the cross-bar.]

Osmund, it's an old digital image, so quite small. I've emailed it to you anyway, but I don't think it will look any better than it does here.

Osmund Bullock,

Thanks, Marion - but you're right, it's identical in every way to the other one, as downloaded from AD. We will hope for a high-res close-up in due course, though I'm far from sure it'll help significantly.

Meanwhile here's a quite interesting memoir of Howard, who seems to have been something of a peacock in his Roman days: There's also a little about his elevated social milieu in Rome (though not in very specific terms), which perhaps provides a clue as to the sort of artist we should be looking for.

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