Sir Francis Burdett, 5th Bt
- Extended catalogue entry
Regency Portraits Catalogue
Sir Francis Burdett, 5th Bt
by Sir Thomas Lawrence
98 1/2 in. x 56 1/2 in. (2502 mm x 1435 mm)
This portraitback to top
According to Lawrence's executors' list (Kenneth Garlick, Walpole Society Journal, XXXIX, nos.276-7) both this and the companion portrait of Lady Burdett (NPG 3821) were begun in 1793, commissioned by Thomas Coutts whose daughter Sophia married Burdett 5 August 1793 and whose widow and executrix, the Duchess of St Albans, claimed them at Lawrence's death in 1830. J. G. Walker's engraving, published in 1805, gives the owner as Thomas Coutts, confirmed by the Duchess's receipt dated 3 April 1830: ‘... the unfinished portraits of Sir Francis and Lady Burdett painted by Sir Thomas Lawrence at the request of the late Mr Coutts of whose Will I am an Executrix ...’ (MS in V & A library). Armstrong (Sir Walter Armstrong, Lawrence, 1913, p 117) without giving evidence dates them to c.1804 (Sir Francis) and 1809 (Lady Burdett) which may possibly be the dates at which Lawrence stopped work on them.
The executors' list described NPG 3820 as 'head finished figure sketched ... abt I finished rather more', and the companion portrait of Lady Burdett as 'about I finished rather less' (Kenneth Garlick, Walpole Society Journal, XXXIX, p 302). Both portraits were delivered in 1830 and completed, probably by Richard Evans, in 1831. On the back of Lady Burdett's portrait was a label (removed before lining and now in registered packet in NPG archive 3821) written in ink: 'Sophia Lady Burdett Daughter of Thomas Coutts Esq. Painted by Sir Thomas Lawrence PRA in 1807 and finished by Robert [sic] Evans Esq. RA in 1831/copied from back of picture previous to lining'. The demarcation line, diagonally through the waist, between Lawrence's work and that of Evans, is clearly to be seen in both portraits.
An oil replica, head and shoulders only with right hand on copy of Magna Carta, was with Leggatt Bros in 1956 and at Christie's 12 May 1961 (81) bought Wiggins.
Physical descriptionback to top
Whole-length standing aged 33, his right hand holds open a parchment on a column, his left rests on a marble bust of an early king (?William I); at base of column a large book lettered: DOOMS/DAY; dark brown curly hair, blue eyes, black tail-coat, waistcoat, breeches and stockings, white collar and cravat; bluish-grey sky background between classical pillars.
Provenanceback to top
Claimed from Lawrence's estate by the Duchess of St Albans, descending through her step-granddaughter Angela (Lady Burdett-Coutts), Burdett's youngest daughter; the Right Hon William Ashmead Bartlett Burdett-Coutts who bequeathed it to Sir Francis Burdett, 8th Baronet, for life and then to the NPG. Sir Francis died in 1951 and the portrait, together with its Lawrence companion of Lady Burdett (NPG 3821), was accepted by the Trustees in 1952.
Exhibitionsback to top
British Institution 1853 (136); Third Exhibition of National Portraits, South Kensington, 1868 (138); 1 Carlton Gardens from 1980.
Reproductionsback to top
Half-length line engraving by J. G. Walker 1805, '… from an Original Picture, the property of Thos. Coutts Esq.'; three-quarter-length stipple by Morrison published in Jerdan's National Portrait Gallery, 1834.
This extended catalogue entry is from the out-of-print National Portrait Gallery collection catalogue: Richard Walker, Regency Portraits, National Portrait Gallery, 1985, 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.
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