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Charles Burney

1 of 10 portraits of Charles Burney

Charles Burney, by Sir Joshua Reynolds, 1781 - NPG 3884 - © National Portrait Gallery, London

© National Portrait Gallery, London

Charles Burney

by Sir Joshua Reynolds
oil on canvas, 1781
29 1/2 in. x 24 in. (749 mm x 610 mm)
Purchased, 1953
Primary Collection
NPG 3884

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Sitterback to top

  • Charles Burney (1726-1814), Musician and historian of music. Sitter in 10 portraits.

Artistback to top

  • Sir Joshua Reynolds (1723-1792), Painter and first President of the Royal Academy. Artist associated with 1413 portraits, Sitter associated with 38 portraits.

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An organist and musicologist, Charles Burney was the author of the monumental A General History of Music, published 1776-89, and the father of Fanny Burney, the novelist and diarist. In 1781 he wrote, 'I have lately sat for my picture to Sr. Jos. Reynolds, for my Friend Mr Thrale... who has a Library furnished with 12 or 14 portraits of persons with whom it is a great honour to be placed'. Thrale's library was at his home in Streatham and Burney's portrait hung between Reynolds's portraits of Baretti and Burke. He is depicted holding a musical score and wearing his gown as a Doctor of Music (Oxford, 1769).

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