British photographic history

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Robert Howlett - grave restoration. Your support needed...

The photograph here shows the final resting place of pioneering photographer Robert Howlett - the man whose photograph of Isambard Kingdom Brunel is now one of the most famous images in history.

Howlett tragically died just one year later at the age of 27 and was not buried in London but in a quiet corner of Norfolk at his father's church of St Peter and St Paul, Wendling. At the time of his unexpected death he was at the peak of his career with commissions from Queen Victoria, Prince Albert and Brunel amongst many others during his brief professional career.

Howlett was described as being in the best of health, full of boundless enthusiasm with a great future ahead but lost his life as a result of a prolonged fever unrelated to his work, in the prime of his life. His father was the parish priest at this church and organised a large memorial to his son in December 1858. The 158 year old grave is showing its age and is now in need of a replacement base plus re-engraving of his name which is almost illegible.

As you can see from the photograph, taken in 2015, it is in need of a great deal of attention though it has now been cleaned. Quotes have been obtained for the base to be replaced, any necessary restoration to be carried out and the inscription to be re- engraved. It is hoped that his restored grave can be rededicated next year.

Any donation will be welcomed through a dedicated page at

A rare opportunity to be part of photographic history.

Image, above: Robert Howlett’s grave in 2015 © Rose Teanby. Right: Robert Howelett by B B Turner. 

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Comment by Michael Pritchard on May 15, 2017 at 13:44

Yes, the total was reached and the physical restoration is taking place in August. There will be a re-dedication in October. See: All welcome but do book in advance. 

Comment by Bobbie Carnegie on May 15, 2017 at 11:33

How did the call for funding for renovation of Robert Howlett Grave go? Amount was reached wasn't it? Are we able to see image of renovated grave?

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