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Mid-Georgian Portraits Catalogue

Charles Burney (1726-1814), Musician and historian of music

Drawing by Joseph Nollekens, profile bust inscribed Dr Burney at Calis in the year 1770. Yale University Library, Osborn Collection (illus. A. Ribiero ed., The Letters of Dr Charles Burney, I, 1751-1784, 1991, p 71).

1778 and 1782
Paintings by Frances Reynolds. Untraced. Burney sat to her in October 1778 and July 1782 (A. Ribiero ed., The Letters of Dr Charles Burney, I, 1751-1784, 1991, pp 258, 346). The portrait has previously, but unconvincingly, been associated with the engraved portrait of 1785 (see below; P. Scholes, The Great Dr Burney, 1948, II, f.p.155).

Painting by James Barry, Commerce, part of the Progress of Human Culture, in which Burney appears submerged in the Thames surrounded by water nymphs. Royal Society of Arts, London (W. L. Pressly, The Life and Art of James Barry, 1981, no.25). Engraved J. Barry 1791. Barry began his large canvas in 1777, but Burney’s head is taken from the Reynolds portrait of 1781.

Painting by Joshua Reynolds, see NPG 3884.

Anon. engraving, bust length (European Mag.; illus. P. Scholes, The Great Dr Burney, 1948, II, f.p.155).

Drawing by George Dance, see NPG 1140.

Marble bust by Joseph Nollekens, wearing academic dress. British Museum (MLA 1944.7.4.1; A. Dawson, Portrait Sculpture, A catalouge of the British Museum collection, 2000, no.11). Exhibited RA 1802 (1059). Nollekens’s receipt for 40 gn. from Burney’s son for a bust of Dr Burney, dated 25 September 1801, is in the Pierpont Morgan Library (information from J. Kenworthy-Browne). A plaster in the Bodleian Library, Oxford, presented by Burney before 1806 (Mrs R. L. Poole, Catalogue of Portraits in the possession of the University, Colleges and City and County of Oxford, I, p 112; illus. Country Life, CLVII, 1975, p 1510), and another with family descendants. A bust, presumably of the Nollekens type, was presented to the Prince of Wales (DNB; untraced). A pen drawing, evidently made from the bust, sold Phillips 4 June 1979, lot 84 (not identified).

Pen drawing caricature by John Nixon, bust length. Christie’s, 14 March 1978, lot 52 (illus. Country Life, CLXIII, 1978, p 1794).

Silhouette c.1790 called The Burney Family (illus. Connoisseur, XXV, 1909, p 219; E. N. Nevill Jackson, Silhouette, Notes and Dictionary, 1938, pl.43).

Doubtful Portraits
Painting attributed to Nathaniel Dance (Manchester City Art Gallery, 1934.489); drawing by J. H. Mortimer (British Museum, 1997.3.22.1); pastel by Daniel Gardner (private collection; illus.G. C. Williamson, Daniel Gardner, 1921, f.p.128).

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.