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Mid-Georgian Portraits Catalogue

Edmund Burke (1729-1797), Statesman; orator; author

For caricatures, to which Burke was subject throughout his political career, see N. K. Robinson, Edmund Burke, A Life in Caricature, 1996.

In 1774 Burke told his protégé James Barry 'I never thought my portrait a business of consequence … I have been painted in my life five times; twice in little and three times in large. The late Mr Spencer and the late Mr Sisson painted the miniatures. Mr Worlidge and Sir Joshua painted the rest' (13 July 1774, Burke Corr., III, 8).

Painting by Thomas Worlidge. Burke mentioned his portrait by Worlidge in a letter of 13 July 1774 (see above). It has been tentatively associated with the portrait sold Sotheby’s, 14 July 1999, lot 45 (illus. Burke Corr., I, f.p.xv), exhibited Belfast, Great Irishmen, 1965 (25, as attributed to Thomas Worridge [sic]).

before 1763
Miniature by Gervase Spencer. Mentioned by Burke in a letter of 13 July 1774 (see above); Spencer is not known to have worked after 1763.

Unfinished painting by Joshua Reynolds, with the 2nd Marquess of Rockingham, see Rockingham.

Miniature by S. Cocks (a name otherwise unrecorded; possibly a misreading of S. Cotes) previously listed at Hatfield (cat., 1891, p 119).

Painting by Joshua Reynolds, see NPG 655.

before 1767
Miniature by Richard Sisson, mentioned by Burke in a letter of 13 July 1774 (see above).

Painting by James Barry, half length. Trinity College, Dublin (W. L. Pressly, The Life and Art of James Barry, 1981, p 66). Possibly from the artist's sale, Christie's, 10-11 April 1807, lot 71, as 'Edmund Burke, demonstrating his position on the Sublime and Beautiful, painted about the year 1771'.

Painting by James Barry, see NPG 854.

Painting by Joshua Reynolds, half length. Scottish NPG (PG 2362; D. Mannings, Sir Joshua Reynolds, 2000, I, no.285). Painted for Henry Thrale’s library at Streatham House; conditionally bequeathed to the National Gallery of Ireland in 1930; transferred to Edinburgh 1969. Probably exhibited RA 1774 (224). A copy by E. F. Burney (A. Ribeiro ed., The Letters of Dr Charles Burney, I, 1751-1784, 1991, I, p 290n15) remains untraced.

Painting by James Barry, Ulysses and a Companion fleeing from the Cave of Polyphemus, with Burke as Ulysses and Barry as his companion. Crawford Art Gallery, Cork (illus. W. L. Pressly, The Life and Art of James Barry, 1981, p 74). Exhibited RA 1776 (18).

Painting by George Romney, half length. Churchill College, Cambridge, commissioned by the Duke of Richmond (H. Ward & W. Roberts, Romney, A Biographical and Critical Essay with a Catalogue Raisonné of his Works, 1904, II, p 22; and see Richmond and Lennox, NPG 4877). Engraved J. Jones 1787 and 1790. A good version at Churchill College, Cambridge; a copy was painted for Ernst Brandes of Hanover in 1786; a miniature copy sold Sotheby's, 18 December 1995, lot 143, and a closely related drawing sold Christie’s, 16 November 1965, lot 182, as by Lawrence, but possibly copied from the engraving.

Painting by James Barry, Distribution of Premiums in the Society of Arts, part of the Progress of Human Culture, in which Burke appears as an isolated figure on the right. Royal Society of Arts, London (illus. W. L. Pressly, The Life and Art of James Barry, 1981, p 105). Engraved J. Barry 1791.

Etching by J. Sayers, whole length, with spectacles (M. D. George, British Museum, Catalogue of Political and Personal SatiresEdmund Burke, A Life in Caricature, 1996, p 32).

Painting by Thomas Hickey, small whole length with Charles James Fox. National Gallery of Ireland (258). Given in 1789 by William Burke in Bengal to William Hickey who described it as Burke ‘reading the famous India Bill [of 1783] prepared and brought into prominence by [Fox]. It was but an indifferent performance’ (Hickey, Memoirs, III, p 349). Hickey went abroad in 1780 and the picture was almost certainly made up.

Marble bust by John Hickey. Formerly at Wentworth Woodhouse. Engraved J. Ward. Replicas: British Museum (destroyed 1941; MLA1825.11.12.1; A. Dawson, Portrait Sculpture, A catalogue of the British Museum collection, 2000, no.10), and Trinity College, Dublin (illus. A. Crookshank & D. Webb, Paintings and Sculptures in Trinity College Dublin, 1990, p 30). William Burke gave a copy to William Hickey in Bengal in 1789; it appears in Thomas Hickey's portrait of William Hickey (illus. M. Archer, India and British Portraiture 1770-1825, 1979, p.214; Hickey, Memoirs, III, p 349).

before 1791
Wax by E. G. Mountstephen (J. Hassell, Memoirs of George Morland, 1906, p 22). An example formerly at Holland House (cat., 1904, no.254). Mountstephen left England in 1791.

Design for a medal by Charles Taconet, exhibited RA 1791 (278).

Wax by T. R. Poole, see NPG 1607.

Miniature by W. H. Brown, wearing spectacles, engraved W. Ridley 1798; a version engraved R. Scott.

Painting by John Opie, small half length, a book in his right hand. Knole (illus. Burke Corr., VI, front). The original canvas is inscribed and dated; the Duke of Dorset’s payment to Opie on 5 July 1792 is preserved at Knole (C. J. Phillips, History of the Sackville Family, II, pp 411, 441; Sir George Scharf's Sketch Books, 92a/21).

Painting by K. A. Hickel, The House of Commons 1793-94, see NPG 754.

Painting by John Hoppner, whole length in LL.D robes. Trinity College, Dublin (W. McKay & W. Roberts, John Hoppner RA, 1909, p 35; illus. A. Crookshank & D. Webb, Paintings and Sculptures in Trinity College Dublin, 1990, p 29). Commissioned by the College in 1795; ‘the figure, features, and complexion are like his, but the countenance as a whole by no means does him justice’ (J. Prior, Memoir of the Life and Character of the Right Hon Edmund Burke, 2nd ed., 1826, II, p 410).

Bust by R. K. Porter, engraved J. Chapman 1797, T. Nugent 1798 ‘After a bust from the life by R. K. Porter'. An engraving by W. B. Daniel 1808, profile bust all‘antica, probably from the same source and an anon. marble bust, sold Christie's, Adare Manor, Ireland, 9-10 June 1982 lot 205, also resembles this type.

A marble bust listed at Knole in 1924 (C. J. Phillips, History of the Sackville Family, II, p 255), remains untraced.

Death mask, ordered by Queen Charlotte. A cast in the Department of Anatomy, Edinburgh University, from the Edinburgh Phrenological Society (Death Masks and Life Masks, Edinburgh University, [1988], p 4).

Medallion by William Tassie, all antica (J. M. Gray, James and William Tassie, a biographical and critical sketch with a catalogue of their portrait medallions of modern personages, 1894, no.54). Cast in the NPG (PG 406).

Bust by Christopher Moore. Plaster[?] exhibited Crystal Palace (Samuel Phillips, The Portrait Gallery of the Crystal Palace, 1854, no.450).

Statue by William Theed jr. Palace of Westminster (R. J. B. Walker, A Catalogue of paintings, drawings, engravings and sculpture in the Palace of Westminster complied during 1959-77, 1988, III, p 13). Modello exhibited RA 1858 (1179).

Statue by J. H. Foley. Trinity College, Dublin (illus. A. Crookshank & D. Webb, Paintings and Sculptures in Trinity College Dublin, 1990, p 30). A reduced plaster version is also in the College; a reduced bronze dated 1865 is in the Royal Collection, and another, undated, sold Phillips 19 July 1995, lot 120.

Bronze statue by J. H. Thomas. Colston Avenue, Bristol.

Doubtful Portraits
Miniature of c.1765 by Nathaniel Hone (National Gallery of Ireland, 7315; illus. P. Caffrey, Treasures to Hold, Irish and English Miniatures 1650-1850 from the National Gallery of Ireland Collection, 2000, p 175). So-called Wedgwood medallion modelled by Lochée (illus. R. Reilly and G. Savage, Wedgwood the Portrait Medallions, 1973, p 76), not related to the Tassie medallion J. M. Gray, James and William Tassie, a biographical and critical sketch with a catalogue of their portrait medallions of modern personages, 1894, no.55.

This extended catalogue entry is from the out-of-print National Portrait Gallery collection catalogue: John Ingamells, National Portrait Gallery: Mid-Georgian Portraits 1760-1790, National Portrait Gallery, 2004, and is as published then. For the most up-to-date details on individual Collection works, we recommend reading the information provided in the Search the Collection results on this website in parallel with this text.