Early Georgian Portraits Catalogue: Burlington

The following text is from the National Portrait Gallery collection catalogue: John Kerslake, Early Georgian Portraits, Her Majesty's Stationery Office, 1977 (now out of print). For the most up to date research on the Collection, we recommend reading the information provided in the Search the Collection results on this website in parallel with this text. This can be accessed by following the link with each portrait’s title.

In consulting the following, please note that apart from the reformatting which allows the printed catalogue to be made available on-line the text is as published in 1977. Footnotes in the original edition are given within square brackets.

Contents Foreword Introduction Catalogue scope Abbreviations Arrangement of entries

Richard Boyle, 3rd Earl of Burlington and 4th Earl of Cork (1695-1753)

Patron of the arts, architect; held various official posts including that of lord treasurer in Ireland, 1715; following visits to Italy, 1714-5 and 1719, devoted himself to propagating Italian Palladian architecture which, by the 1730s, became the established style for English country houses and public buildings; his drawings by Inigo Jones have descended to the Dukes of Devonshire; KG 1730.

2495 (With his sister, Lady Jane Boyle), after a painting by Sir Godfrey Kneller, of c.1700
Oil on panel, 14 3/4 x 9 3/4 in. (375 x 248 mm); grey wig; green coat, scarlet drapery lined with pink over his right arm; his sister, kneeling beneath his outstretched left arm, holds a basket of flowers; in the background a terrace and column with fountain at the end of a curving wall; a greyhound(?) left foreground.

NPG 2495 is an early copy of the right-hand portion of Kneller's canvas, c.1700, of the sitter and his sisters. [1] It seems to be based on John Smith's mezzotint of 1701 after Kneller (CS 53). It is the same size but lacks the urn on top of the column.

Condition: good.

Collections: received, 1931, by bequest with a miniature of Richard Boyle, 1st Earl of Cork (NPG 2494) under the will of Edmund Montagu Boyle, [2] subject to the life interest of his sister Mrs G.O. Quin.

4818 Attributed to Jonathan Richardson, c.1717-9
Oil on canvas, 57 ½ x 46 in. (1460 x 1168 mm); brown eyes, straight nose, clear complexion, rounded chin; scarlet velvet cap and matching coat, white shirt open at the collar, grey silk waistcoat with multicolour sash; in his right hand he holds a pair of dividers, his elbow resting on a pedestal with an earl's coronet and beneath it, a coat of arms, a monochrome shield, a bend embattled, counter embattled; background of trees, brown and green foliage, and, right, the small building he designed for Chiswick House; lit from the left.

Inscribed beneath the coat of arms, in gold script: Earl of Burlington. A MS label, 32 on the back of the stretcher.

NPG 4818 first appeared in the saleroom in 1954 wrongly ascribed to Hayman and without previous history. Doubts as to identity, the inscription notwithstanding, rested mainly on a contemporary description of the arms as 'party per bend crenelle pearl and ruby'. [3] However, the building depicted is now known to be the bagnio or cassina erected by Burlington to his own design in the grounds of Chiswick House in 1717 [4] published in Vitruvius Britannicus [5] , and the portrait was probably painted between that year and the sitter's second visit to Italy in 1719. The features and the handling are very close to another three-quarter length sold as by an unknown artist, Christie's, 1 March 1935, lot 100, anonymous property. In this, the sitter, now older, wears the lesser George (Burlington was admitted to the Garter in 1730) and holds a square; the allegorical figure, top left, holds an earl's coronet. Both portraits are typical of the work of Jonathan Richardson. Among the principal pictures at Burton Park, Sussex, Neale described, in 1824, what appears to be the second portrait, or a version of it: 'Richard Boyle, Earl of Burlington, holding a square to denote his skill in architecture. Richardson.’ [6] There is no known family connection to account for the presence of a Burlington at Burton. The link may well be an architectural one since the first house there was built for Richard Burton c.1740 by the Palladian Giacomo Leoni. [7]

Condition: some discoloured varnish still evident in the darks; partially cleaned since 1954. Originally a 50 x 40, it has been skilfully enlarged by about 3 ½ inches all round, probably at a very early date and possibly in the artist's studio: 'lately, he makes his Cloths of his half len. 3 Inches longer than others & 1 Inch ½ wider.' [8] The inscription runs across the enlargement.

Collections: bought, 1970, from the collection of Mrs G.C. Lancaster, with the aid of a grant of £2000 from the National Art Collections Fund (Mrs A.M. Marshall bequest) and the proceeds from the exhibition of Dr R.M. McDonald's collection at Leggatt's; at Sotheby's, 28 July 1954, lot 137, previous history unknown.

Exhibited: 'The Countess of Suffolk and her Friends', Marble Hill House, Twickenham, 1966 (9), as by Dahl.

Literature: The British Compendium or Rudiments of Honour, 8th edition, 1738; C. Hussey, 'The Young Lord Burlington', Country Life, CXXVII, 1960.


Portraits of Burlington have not hitherto been classified. Several are in the Devonshire collection, presumably by descent through the marriage of the sitter's daughter, and sole heir, to the 4th Duke in 1748. After the portrait with his sister of c.1700, Kneller produced another in 1716. The latter, missing from the paintings of members of the Kit-Cat Club now in the National Portrait Gallery, was engraved by J. Faber junior for the series as one of four extras inserted into the forty-three numbered plates, published 1735. [9] Versions are at Chatsworth, Duke of Devonshire, and in the collection, 1957, of H.H. Brown; [10] the Garter was probably added after 1730. A good half length, artist and engraver unknown (CS 12), shows the sitter as captain of the Gentlemen Pensioners and is therefore datable to 1731-3 [11] . The well-known portrait by George Knapton at Chatsworth, with Rysbrack's bust of Inigo Jones in the background, is of 1743, the artist's name and date having been read from the inscription on the back before relining. Exhibited ‘NPE' 1867 (280), it was engraved by W.T. Mote for Lodge's Portraits (O'D 5).

Vertue mentions two groups in which the sitter appears: by Bartholomew Dandridge, 1732, with the Duke of Richmond and others [12] and by Vanloo, described at some length ‘. . . a family piece in large of Ld. Burlington his Lady and two daughters . . .'. [13] He is caricatured in Taste or Burlington Gate attributed to Hogarth (see below Kent, William).

A portrait by Vanderbank, signed and dated 1721, now in the Avery Library, Columbia University, has been said to represent Burlington. It appeared at the Charles sale, American Art Association, 15-20 November 1920, lot 678, as from the Winchester Heirlooms, Andover, Hampshire. Another portrait in the RIBA, ascribed to Kneller, has gained some currency, but the sitter does not appear to be Burlington. Two portraits, one of which was attributed to Michael Dahl, were recorded at Oxburgh Hall in 1908. [14]


1. At Chatsworth. Exh. 'Sir Godfrey Kneller', 1971, pp.29-30, reproduced.
2. Will proved 21 January 1886; Scharf sketched both, 24 February 1888, NPG picture dossier.
3. The British Compendium . . ., I, p.378, pl.30.
4. Hussey, p.1494.
5. See Colin Campbell, Vitruvius . . ., III, 1725, pl.26.
6. Neale, VII, 1824 (unpaginated).
7. Colvin, p.364.
8. Vertue, III, p.54, writing c.1731.
9. See Piper, 1963, p.401.
10. Reproduced Country Life, CXXII, 1957, p.1043; the Devonshire collection portrait sketched by Scharf, 1865.
11. E. Hailstone, Portraits of Yorkshire Worthies . . ., II, 1869 (136).
12. Vertue, III, p.57.
13. Ibid, p.96.
14. Duleep Singh, II, p.116.