(2nd E. Arundel)

Born: 7 Jul 1585, Romford, Essex, England

Died: 26 Sep 1646, Padua, Italy

Buried: 4 Oct 1646, Arundel, Sussex, England

Notes: Knight of the Garter.

Father: Phillip HOWARD (1º E. Arundel)

Mother: Anne DACRE (C. Arundel)

Married: Alethea TALBOT (C. Arundel) ABT 24 Sep 1606 


1. James HOWARD (B. Maltravers) (d. 1624)

2. Henry Frederick HOWARD (3º E. Arundel)

3. William HOWARD (1º V. Stafford)

4. Charles HOWARD

5. Catherine HOWARD

6. Gilbert HOWARD

7. Thomas HOWARD

8. Theophilus HOWARD

9. Anne HOWARD

Howard,Thomas(2°EArundel)02.jpg (36896 bytes)


by Peter Paul Rubens

Howard,Thomas(2°EArundel)01.jpg (420442 bytes)

Thomas Howard, Earl of Arundel

by Daniel Mytens


Thomas Howard, Earl of Arundel, and his wife Alethea Talbot

by Daniel Mytens

First great English art collector and patron of arts, Arundel was born in relative penury, at Finchingfield in Essex on 7 Jul 1585. His aristocratic family had fallen into disgrace during the reign of Queen Elizabeth I owing to their religious conservatism and involvement in plots against the Queen. He was the son of Phillip Howard, 1st Earl of Arundel, and Anne Dacre, daughter and co-heiress of Thomas Dacre, Lord of Gillesland. He never knew his father, who was imprisoned before Arundel was born, and owing to his father's attainder he was initially styled Lord Maltravers.

Arundel's great-uncles returned the family to favour after James I ascended the throne, and Arundel was restored to his titles and some of his estates in 1604. Other parts of the family lands ended up with his great-uncles.

Educated at Trinity College, Cambridge, he married Alethea Talbot, the wealth daughter of the Earl of Shrewsbury.

Arundel was an effective diplomat during the reign of James I. After coming to court, he travelled abroad, acquiring his taste for art.

He was created Knight of the Garter in 1611. In 1613 he escorted Elizabeth, the electress consort Palatine, to Heidelberg as part of her marriage celebrations, and again visited Italy. On Christmas Day 1615 he joined the Church of England, and took office, being appointed a Privy Councillor in 1616. He supported Sir Walter Raleigh's expedition to Guiana in 1617, became a member of the New England Plantations Committee in 1620 and planned the colonization of Madagascar.

Arundel presided over the House of Lords Committee in Apr 1621 for investigating the corruption charges against Francis Bacon, whom he defended from degradation from the peerage, and at whose fall he was appointed a commissioner of the Great Seal. On 16 May 1621 he was briefly sent to the Tower of London by the Lords on account of insulting Robert Spencer, Baron Spencer by referring to their respective ancestry. He then incurred Prince Charles's and the Duke of Buckingham's anger by his opposition to the (proposed) war with Spain in 1624, and by his share in the Duke's impeachment.

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Alethea Talbot, Countess of Arundel

by Daniel Mytens

On the marriage of his son Henry to Lady Elizabeth Stewart (daughter of Esmé Stewart, 3rd Duke of Lennox) without the King's approval, he was imprisoned in the Tower by Charles I, shortly after his accession, but was released at the instance of the Lords in June 1626, being again confined to his house till Mar 1628, when he was once more liberated by the Lords. In the debates on the Petition of Right, while approving its essential demands, he supported the retention of some discretionary power by the King in committing to prison. The same year he was reconciled to Charles I and again made a privy councillor.


by Peter Paul Rubens

On 29 Aug 1621 Arundel had been appointed Earl Marshal, and in 1623 Constable of England, in 1630 reviving the earl marshal's court. He was sent to The Hague in 1632 on a mission of condolence to the king's sister, Elizabeth Stuart, recently Queen of Bohemia, on her husband's death. In 1634 he was made justice in eyre of the forests north of the Trent; he accompanied Charles the same year to Scotland on the occasion of his coronation. In 1635 he was made Lord Lieutenant of Surrey.

Thomas Howard, 2nd Earl of Arundel

by Anthony van Dyck.

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Thomas Howard, 2nd Earl of Arundel and Surrey with His Grandson Lord Maltravers.

by Anthony van Dyck.

1635. Oil on canvas. Duke of Norfolk, Arundel Castle, Sussex, UK

In 1636 Arundel undertook an unsuccessful mission to the emperor Ferdinand II to procure the restitution of the Palatinate to the young elector, Charles Louis, the Queen of Bohemia's son.

In 1638 he was entrusted with the charge of the forts on the border with Scotland, and, supporting alone amongst the peers the war against the Scots, was made general of the king's forces in the first Bishops' War, though "he had nothing martial about him but his presence and looks". He was not employed in the second Bishops' War, but in Aug 1640 was nominated captain general south of the Trent.

Arundel was appointed Lord Steward of the royal household in Apr 1640, and in 1641 as lord high steward presided at the trial of the Earl of Strafford. This closed his public career. He became again estranged from the court, and in 1641 he escorted Maria de' Medici home. In 1642 he accompanied Princess Mary for her marriage to William II of Orange. With the troubles that would lead to the Civil War brewing, he decided not to return to England, and instead settled first in Antwerp and then at a villa near Padua, in Italy. He contributed a sum of £34,000 to the king's cause, and suffered severe losses in the war. He died in Padua in 1646, having returned to the Roman Catholicism he nominally abandoned on joining the Privy Council, and was buried in Arundel. He was succeeded as Earl by his eldest son Henry Howard, 15th Earl of Arundel who was the ancestor of the Dukes of Norfolk and Baron Mowbray. His youngest son William Howard, 1st Viscount Stafford was the ancestor of what was first the Earl of Stafford and later Baron Stafford.

Arundel had petitioned the king for restoration of the ancestral Dukedom of Norfolk. While the restoration was not to occur until the time of his grandson, he was created Earl of Norfolk in 1644, which at least ensured the title would stay with his family. Arundel also got Parliament to entail his earldoms to the descendants of his grandfather Thomas Howard, 4th Duke of Norfolk.

Thomas's trips as special envoy to some of the great courts of Europe further encouraged his interest in art collecting. He became noted as a patron and collector of works of art, described by Walpole as "the father of virtu in England", and was a member of the Whitehall group of connoisseurs associated with Charles I. He commissioned portraits of himself or his family by contemporary masters such as Daniel Mytens, Peter Paul Rubens, Jan Lievens, and Anthony van Dyck. He acquired other paintings by Hans Holbein, Adam Elsheimer, Mytens, Rubens, and Honthorst

He was patron of Inigo Jones, Rubens, and Van Dyck. Both Rubens and Van Dyck painted portraits for Arundel of himself and his wife in addition to other works. Inigo Jones, long in his service, accompanied him to Rome; there Arundel excavated some Roman statues, which with other ancient sculptures, including the Parian Chronicle, or Marmor Chronicon, were given to Oxford Univ. in 1667 and became known as the Arundel Marbles. Most of his sculpture collection is in Oxford's Ashmolean Museum. His collections also included Flemish, Dutch, German, and Italian paintings of the 16th cent.; Dürer and Holbein were particularly well represented. His library was given to the Royal Society; the manuscripts known as the Arundel Collection were later transferred (1831) to the British Museum. The Arundel Society (1848–97) reproduced works by famous artists in order to promote public interest in art. In 1904 the Arundel Club began to print reproductions of works in private collections.

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