Sunday, June 17, 2012

The Countess of Carlisle

[The Countess of Carlisle
Dante Gabriel Rossetti

As close friends of the Burne-Joneses, their social life overlapped the Morrises'; the firm did decorating work for the Howards' London home in Holland Park, Naworth Castle in Cumberland, and Castle Howard in Yorkshire; and he and Morris worked together for the Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings. George Howard's health was one reason for the Howards' frequent trips to Italy, Egypt, and other warm climates. Jane Morris became their friend, accompanying them on extended trips and visiting them at Howard Castle. As wealthy patrons of the arts and mediterranean travellers sympathetic to genteel invalidism, they would have been congenial companions for Jane and Jenny. In an 1881 letter during an earlier trip Morris wrote jokingly to his wife, 'Good bye, my dear, take care of yourself: and please pay your way duly to Mrs Howard: I can't go owing money to Earl-kin' (27 February, Letters). Jane Morris's letters in the Castle Howard Archives reveal some embarrassment at her husband's tendency to argue politics with Rosalind Howard, and a deep affection for and gratitude to the latter for many kindnesses to herself and Jenny.

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