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Edmund Burke

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- subject matching 'Portraits in wax'

Edmund Burke, by Thomas R. Poole, 1791 -NPG 1607 - © National Portrait Gallery, London

© National Portrait Gallery, London

Mid-Georgian Portraits Catalogue

Edmund Burke

by Thomas R. Poole
1791
4 1/2 in. (114 mm) diameter
NPG 1607

Inscriptionback to top

Inscribed on truncation: 1791/Poole; the wax partly discoloured and some black paint cracking on the supporting glass.
Label formerly verso reads:
The Rt Honble Edmund Burke/Modelled from the Life/by T. R. Poole,/Medallion Modeller,/to his Royal Highness the/Prince of Wales.1

1 An ink inscription, formerly verso, reads: The Model to be hung in a side Light, and there was also a printed list of Poole’s prices, headed: ‘Mr Poole’s Models are durable in any Climate’, and ranging from 2 guineas for a copy of a Gentleman’s medallion, to 10 guineas ‘in Clerical Habit or Regimentals’; ‘Mr Poole continues to model free of expence, the Head of a Gentleman, on receiving a guarantee for twenty Copies’.

This portraitback to top

A likeness approved by Burke’s biographer James Prior, [1] who preferred it to Hoppner’s portrait of 1795-1801. Other examples show slight differences in the hair ribbon and neckcloth, e.g. two in English private collections,[2] that engraved by T. W. Fry in 1823 (with the date 1795) [3] and that dated 1797 of which is there is a cast in the Scottish National Portrait Gallery (PG 1878 as James Tassie). [4]

Footnotesback to top

1) J. Prior, Memoir of the Life and Character of the Right Hon Edmund Burke, 1826, II, p 411.
2) Listed by E. J. Pyke, A Biographical Dictionary of Wax Modellers, 1973, p 113; photographs NPG archive.
3) Other undated examples in the Victoria and Albert Museum (A.31.1970); sold Sotheby’s, 2 June 1975, lot 134, and 24 July 1978, lot 57 (see E. J. Pyke, Modellers (Supplement), 1981, p 33).
4) 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; another example exhibited Benjamin Franklin and his Circle, New York, 1936 (208 as Tassie).

Referenceback to top

Pyke 1973
E. J. Pyke, A Biographical Dictionary of Wax Modellers, 1973.

Provenanceback to top

Presented by G. B. Croft-Lyons FSA through the National Art Collections Fund 1911.


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.

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