Edward Howard

Edward Irvine Howard was the youngest son of the Royal Academician Henry Howard, well-known at the time for his paintings on historical and mythological scenes. His eldest brother, Frank, was also a painter. Edward Howard was the third Fellow to join Singleton’s staff, having recently completed a degree at Lincoln College, Oxford.

Edward Howard made a significant impact upon his pupils at a time when staff out-numbered boys. Samuel Reynolds remembered him as an able Classics teacher:

The second Fellow, Edward Irvine Howard, taught us Classics and ancient history. I am deeply indebted to him as a teacher. He was a sound Classic, well read in modern literature, and a man of many accomplishments, a good draughtsman, a good musician, a good oar, and a fair hand at cricket. As long as he was at Radley, he had charge of the head form, and excellently did he do his work. He was not an elegant scholar. His Greek and Latin verse were not at all up to the mark. But, except in verse composition, he was good all round – good especially at beating sense out of a tough passage in Thucydides, or a corrupt chorus in Aeschylus, and into a boy’s brains. To mistakes, and carelessness, and stupidity, he shewed no mercy; but though he had a sharp tongue enough, I do not think he was sharper on us than we well deserved, and I am sure we profited by his remarks. [SH Reynolds]1

He was fondly remembered for taking part in the boys’ games, when there were too few to form teams:

Our first term passed pleasantly enough. It was not, as far, as I remember, a very lively or eventful time. My two school-fellows, Melhuish and Clutterbuck, were a good deal younger than I was, and were not, either of them, much good at games. However, with help from Monk and Howard, we managed occasionally to have a turn at cricket, and, later in the season, at football; but there were not enough of us, all told, to make much of it at either game. [SH Reynolds]1

and for providing treats such as decorating a kite which Edwin Monk made for them, by painting a design of a Pegasus with a ‘Petran’ (ie. Radleian) on its back with the device ‘Sic itur ad astra’, and organising the earliest rowing outing on the River Thames:

[1849] The beginning was this – one morning Messrs Savory and Howard chose six boys and me as cox, took us up to Sandford where an eight was lying – I don’t know where she came from. We all got in and rowed her to the new boat house. I never saw that boat manned again that I can remember.

[Memoir of Philip Gurdon, Radley’s first Rowing Blue, who entered the school in 1848.]

Edward Howard also contributed to art work for the new College, following the eclectic tradition of design which he inherited from his father. He designed the earliest College seal, and two emblems, one of a dove which is still extant as a binding stamp on the books from the earliest library, the second the figure of St Peter long used as the device for The Radleian magazine and on the College’s most prestigious award, the Richards Gold Medal. His most lasting achievement was the design of the Bell Tower, now Clock Tower, based on German towers from the Rhineland region.

He left Radley in 1849 to take up a post in law in Bombay, where his elder brother William was advocate-general. He was the founder of the Bombay Quarterly. He was killed in a train accident in India in 1869.

A short obituary was published in the Law Times and the Gentleman’s Magazine, and Howard’s career as a journalist is recorded in Joseph Crowe’s Reminiscences of thirty-five years of my life. (1865)

1: From TD Raikes, Sicut Columbae. Oxford, 1897
2: Quoted in AK Boyd The history of Radley College, 1847-1947. Oxford, 1947. pp. 376-7