Sir Francis Burdett, 5th Bt
45 of 2115 portraits matching these criteria:
- subject matching 'Pets and animals - Dogs'
- Extended Catalogue Entry
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
Sitterback to top
- Sir Francis Burdett, 5th Bt (1770-1844), Parliamentary reformer. Sitter associated with 135 portraits.
Artistback to top
- Sir William Charles Ross (1794-1860), Miniature painter. Artist associated with 97 portraits, Sitter in 1 portrait.
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
Subjects & Themesback to top
Events of 1840back to top
Current affairsVictoria 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 scienceBeau 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.
InternationalThe 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.