Family in the frame as portrait returns


A 250-year-old portrait of a Milton Keynes company’s founder has been returned to the UK after 50 years in Australia.

Law firm Howes Percival founder Richard Howes started the company in Towcester, Northamptonshire in 1790.

The portrait was shipped back to the UK last year from Sydney, Australia where it had been taken by Oliver’s father, John Howes, when he emigrated over 50 years ago.

But it has now been sent as a gift to the company by his great, great, great grandson, Australian film-maker Oliver Howes.

Since its return, the painting has been cleaned and restored.

Howes Percival’s senior partner Andrew Barnes, said: “By all accounts, Richard Howes was a fascinating character.

“As well as establishing a thriving law firm, he is believed to have written a book on the history of Northamptonshire and to have been actively involved in local politics and good works. He died at the age of 70 while visiting a poorhouse.”

Howes Percival has grown into a full service commercial law firm with five offices in the UK.

Michael Percival, who retired as senior partner from Howes Percival in 2005 after 40 years said:“The gift of Richard Howes’ portrait to Howes Percival has really helped to bring this long history to life - I had previously seen a small photocopy of this painting, but to see the original is absolutely fantastic.”