Charles Howard, 11th Duke of Norfolk K.G. (1746-1815), son of Charles, 10th Duke of Norfolk (1720-1786), and Katherine, second daughter and co-heiress of John Brockholes of Claughton, Lancashire, was brought up at Greystoke Castle, Cumberland and in France, not receiving much formal education, but developing a natural speaking ability and impatience with convention. His habitual slovenliness of dress occasioned his frequent caricatures by the satirical cartoonist Gillray, and it was said that his servants used to wait until he was drunk to bathe him, as he had an aversion to soap and water when sober.
A Protestant and a staunch Whig, he actively opposed the prosecution of the American war. In addition to his political pursuits, when Earl of Surrey he was elected Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries in 1779, Member of Parliament for Carlisle, was deputy lieutenant of Sussex and lord of the treasury under Portland, 1783. He succeeded as eleventh duke on the death of his father in 1786, and was appointed high steward of Hereford among other honours.
His propensity for eccentricity and free speech caught up with him at a great political dinner at the Crown and Anchor Tavern, Arundel Street, Strand, on 24 January 1798. With nearly two thousand in attendance, the duke proposed the toast 'Our sovereign's health - the majesty of the people.' Remonstration was swift, and King George III, highly offended, caused the duke's removal from his lord-lieutenancy and colonelcy in the militia. News of his demotions reached the duke when he was entertaining his friend the Prince Regent, later George IV, at his lavish London home, Norfolk House, in St James's Square.
Somewhat mollified in later years by offers of the Garter and other dignities, including the Presidency of the Society of Arts in 1794, the duke was eventually back in favour, appointed lord-lieutenant of Sussex in 1807. He continued to live in splendour at Norfolk House and at his country seat, Arundel Castle, spending vast sums on his collections of pictures and books. His friendship with George IV went through a difficult period, but in later years their reconciliation was marked with a notable dinner at Brighton Pavilion, recounted by Thackerey in Four Georges, at which the prince, aided by his brothers the Dukes of Clarence and York, reduced the duke to a state of helpless drunkenness.
He died at Norfolk House on 16 December 1815 and having no issue from his two marriages, was succeeded in the dukedom by his third cousin, Bernard Edward Howard (1765-1842).
The pair to this egg-frame was sold Christie's New York, 20 October 1999, lot 239.