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William Howitt

1846 – 1928

William Howitt, woodcarver and sculptor, began his career in the UK, decorating ships’ interiors and working on ecclesiastical items. Arriving in Melbourne in 1888, he established a sufficient reputation to be commissioned, in 1896, to carve the pulpit, bishop’s throne and other furnishings for St Paul’s Cathedral. Some three years later he moved to Perth, where he advertised as a sculptor of ecclesiastical items such as fonts and reredoses as well as art furniture, and taught wood carving at the technical school until 1906. In Western Australia he worked in a variety of native timbers, notably jarrah, in which he produced reliefs including ‘Marguerite Leaving the Church’, displayed at the Paris Exhibition of 1900, and ‘Dante and Beatrice’, exhibited in San Francisco in 1915. His sectional model of the Great Boulder Mine was presented to the Princess of Wales in 1904. A jarrah dining suite comprising sideboard, table, six chairs and a side table was exhibited at the Western Australian Exhibition in 1906, and for many years one of his tables carved with a black swan was a highlight of the collection of the West Australian Forests Department.

Updated 2018