Memorial effigy of Dean
Howard, by H. H. Armstead and George Gilbert Scott

Tomb chest and recumbent effigy of Henry Edward John Howard (1795-1868), Dean of Lichfield from 1833. H. H. Armstead (sculptor, 1828-1905) and Sir George Gilbert Scott (architect, 1811-1878). 1872. White marble recumbent effigy with an ornate Gothic canopy just behind it, in the south choir aisle of Lichfield Cathedral. A figure at one end of the canopy holds a chalice. On the side of the tomb chest are carved aspects of the Passion — spears, sponges dipped in vinegar, the crown of thorns, the garment and dice, recalling the casting of lots for Jesus' clothes, and the cross and a ladder.

Close-up of
Dean Howard

The Dean of Lichfield was a "scholarly cleric" whose "earnest zeal in ruling and restoring this cathedral" is noted around the rim of the tomb-chest, which also bears the inscription "H. H. Armstead. Sculpt: 1872" at its foot. In connection with Scott's restoration of Lichfield Cathedral, the architect himself noted that much of the work was carried out during Dean Howard's time, and that even though the Dean was very infirm, and unable to "to take so active a part as he would otherwise have done," everything was done "in the fullest consultation with him, and he threw himself into it with all possible zeal and with the greatest mental energy." Scott adds here, "He was a most charming man, and kept up a cheerful, lively, and even jocose and buoyant spirit, under circumstances of very great bodily suffering, which he bore with the most Christian and heroic submission. I may indeed say that he rose above his sufferings in a manner of which the mere recollection is quite edifying" (293-94).

In general, Armstead's church monuments were appreciated for their naturalism, and this contributed to his being seen as a forerunner of the New Sculpture (see Noszlopy and Waterhouse 254). However, Dean Howard's effigy may not be the best example of this (see the same commentators' comparison of it with a later monument of his at Lichfield, 229).

Related Material

Photographs and text Jacqueline Banerjee. Photographs reproduced here by kind permission of the Chapter of Lichfield Cathedral.

Sources

Boase, G. C., rev. M. C. Curthoys. "Howard, Henry Edward John (1795-1868)." Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. Web. 1 May 2013.

Noszlopy, George T., and Fiona Waterhouse. Public Sculpture of Staffordshire and the Black Country. Liverpool: Liverpool University Press, 2005. Print.

Pevsner, Nikolaus. The Buildings of England: Staffordshire. London: Penguin, 1974. Print.

Scott, Sir George Gilbert, R.A. Personal and Professional Recollections, edited by his son, G. Gilbert Scott, F.S.A. London: Sampson Low, Marston, Searle, & Rivington, 1879. Internet Archive. Web. 1 May 2013.


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Last modified 1 May 2013