There is a watercolour in the Castle Howard collection of the same subject dated 1882, which was probably exhibited at the Grosvenor Gallery the same year as Path under the Olives, Bordighera - small picture.
George James Howard, ninth Earl of Carlisle was the only son of Charles Wentworth George Howard, fifth son of George Howard, sixth earl and M.P. for East Cumberland, 1840-79, by his wife Mary, second daughter of Sir James Parke, Baron Wensleydale. Born in London on 13 August 1843, Howard was educated at Eton and Trinity Colleage, Cambridge, where in 1861 he was one of a few undergraduates selected to join King Edward VII, when Prince of Wales, in attendance at a private course of lectures on history by Charles Kingsley. He succeeded his uncle, William George Howard (1808-1889), the invalid and bachelor eighth earl of Carlisle, in 1889.
He was elected liberal M.P. for East Cumberland between 1879-80 and 1881-5. At the disruption of the party over Irish home rule he joined the liberal unionists, but did not sit in the 1886 parliament. Later in the House of Lords, he continued to vote with the liberal unionists, while his wife had become an ardent public worker on the radical side. He had left from the beginning the administration of his great estates in Cumberland, Northumberland, and Yorkshire in the hands of his wife, Rosalind, youngest daughter of the second Lord Stanley of Alderley.
His real devotion, despite his political career, was to art. He took up painting after leaving Cambridge, and was the pupil successively of Alphonse Legros and Giovanni Costa. Of his many friendships the most intimate were with aritsts, especially with the two above named and with Burne-Jones, Leighton, Watts, Thomas Armstrong, Pepys Cockerell, and latterly Sir Charles Holroyd. He had an intense sympathy for Italy and the Italians, being a particular friend in his youth of Mazzini. He was an influential trustee of the National Gallery for more than thirty years and he agreed to offer to the Gallery, for a price much below its market value, the masterpiece of Mabuse, the 'Adoration of the Magi', which had been bought by the fifth earl. His wife carried out this request after his death and the picture is now the property of the Nation.