The Gallery holds the most extensive collection of portraits in the world. Search over 215,000 works, 150,000 of which are illustrated from the 16th Century to the present day.

Advanced Collection search

First Previous 45 OF 2115 NextLast

Sir Francis Burdett, 5th Bt

45 of 2115 portraits matching these criteria:

- subject matching 'Pets and animals - Dogs'

© National Portrait Gallery, London

 Like voting
is closed

Thanks for Liking

Please Like other favourites!
If they inspire you please support our work.

Make a donation Close
  • Use this image
  • ShareShare this

Sir Francis Burdett, 5th Bt

by Sir William Charles Ross
watercolour on ivory, circa 1840
15 1/2 in. x 13 1/2 in. (394 mm x 343 mm)
Transferred from Tate Gallery, 1957
Primary Collection
NPG 2056

Sitterback to top

Artistback to top

This portraitback to top

Sir Francis Burdett was one of the most radical and outspoken politicians of his time. A fearless advocate of free speech and of the reform of the House of Commons, he was a constant thorn in the side of the government and was twice imprisoned. Pursuing his humanitarian interests, Burdett was one of the sponsors of the Martin Act of 1822, the first piece of legislation for protecting animals. In this miniature he is shown in riding dress with a dog, notably provided with a water bowl, at his feet. By the time this portrait was painted Burdett had more or less retired from active politics. His support for animal rights did not extend to fox-hunting, a pastime to which he devoted much of his retirement.

Related worksback to top

  • NPG 2057: Angela Burdett-Coutts, Baroness Burdett-Coutts (companion portrait)

Linked publicationsback to top

  • Gibson, Robin, The Face in the Corner: Animal Portraits from the Collections of the National Portrait Gallery, 1998, p. 55
  • Robin Gibson, Pets in Portraits, 2015, p. 87 Read entry

    This charming oversize miniature of an elderly country gentleman, dressed for riding and sitting in his library with his dog, contains perhaps only one clue to the fact that he was one of the most radical and outspoken politicians of his time: the bust, dominating the room, of his mentor, the famous political agitator of a previous generation, John Horne Tooke. A fearless advocate of free speech and the reform of the House of Commons, Burdett was a constant thorn in the side of the government and was twice imprisoned. By the time of this portrait, and with reform achieved, he was siding with the Tories, had more or less retired from active politics and was devoted to fox hunting.

    Pursuing his humanitarian interests, Burdett was one of the sponsors of the Martin Act 1822, the first piece of legislation for protecting animals. He had married into the Coutts banking family, and his love of animals was amply inherited by his daughter, Baroness Angela Burdett-Coutts, the philanthropist and famous heiress to the banking fortune. She instituted countless schemes for improvements both in animal welfare and farming, became President of the RSPCA and erected the statue to the legendary Skye terrier Greyfriars Bobby in Edinburgh in 1872. She kept numerous pets at her house in Highgate, including llamas on the front lawn, a famous cockatoo called Cocky and her favourite dog, a small Manchester terrier called Fan, whose biography she wrote.

    Her father’s dog is less well documented and being, unusually, seen from behind is less easy to identify. It certainly seems a suitable companion for hunting, possibly an early form of Airedale terrier, and is well provided for by the unique and elegant water bowl, prophetic perhaps of the numerous drinking fountains for men and animals alike that his daughter would erect around the country.

  • Saywell, David; Simon, Jacob, Complete Illustrated Catalogue, 2004, p. 88
  • Walker, Richard, Miniatures: 300 Years of the English Miniature, 1998, p. 10
  • Walker, Richard, Regency Portraits, 1985, p. 75

Events of 1840back to top

Current affairs

Victoria marries her cousin, Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha; he is given the title of Prince Consort.
The Penny Black stamp is introduced by Rowland Hill; the first pre-paid, self-adhesive stamp, it marks the start of the modern postal system.
The start of the Irish potato famine, which by the time of its peak in 1851, had caused the deaths of one million, and contributed to the sharp rise of emigration from Ireland to England and America.

Art and science

Beau Brummel, the fashion leader responsible for sparking the culture of 'Dandyism', dies of syphilis.
The first stone is laid on the new Houses of Parliament, based on the gothic designs by the architects Charles Barry and Augustus Pugin. The old buildings had burned down in 1834, following a blaze caused by burning wooden tallies used by the Exchequer to calculate tax.


The Afghans surrender to Britain during the Afghan-British war (1839-42). The war was sparked by British fear over Russian influence in Afghanistan, with the British East India Company resolving to depose the Afghan leader, Dost Muhammad, who was insistent on Afghan independence, and restore the former leader Shoja Shah.
The Maoris yield sovereignty of New Zealand under the Treaty of Waitangi.

Tell us more back to top

Can you tell us more about this portrait? Spotted an error, information that is missing (a sitter’s life dates, occupation or family relationships, or a date of portrait for example) or do you know anything that we don't know? If you have information to share please complete the form below.

If you require information from us, please use our Archive enquiry service. You can buy a print of most illustrated portraits. Select the portrait of interest to you, then look out for a Buy a Print button. Prices start at £6 for unframed prints, £25 for framed prints. If you wish to license this image, please use our Rights and Images service.

Please note that we cannot provide valuations.

We digitise over 8,000 portraits a year and we cannot guarantee being able to digitise images that are not already scheduled.

What can you tell us?close

There are occasions when we are unsure of the identity of a sitter or artist, their life dates, occupation or have not recorded their family relationships. Sometimes we have not recorded the date of a portrait. Do you have specialist knowledge or a particular interest about any aspect of the portrait or sitter or artist that you can share with us? We would welcome any information that adds to and enhances our information and understanding about a particular portrait, sitter or artist.


How do you know this? Please could you let us know your source of information.

* Permission to publish (Privacy information)
Privacy Informationclose

The National Portrait Gallery will NOT use your information to contact you or store for any other purpose than to investigate or display your contribution. By ticking permission to publish you are indicating your agreement for your contribution to be shown on this collection item page. Please note your email address will not be displayed on the page nor will it be used for any marketing material or promotion of any kind.

Please ensure your comments are relevant and appropriate. Your contributions must be polite and with no intention of causing trouble. All contributions are moderated.

Your Emailclose

Contributions are moderated. We'll need your email address so that we can follow up on the information provided and contact you to let you know when your contribution has been published.