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portrait bust

  • Object type

  • Museum number


  • Description

    Carrara marble portrait bust of Revd. Charles Burney the Younger (1757-1817) by Joseph Nollekens RA (1727-1823); head and shoulders; head turned to left, attached to a waisted circular socle of a paler coloured marble.

  • Producer name

  • Date

    • 1815
  • Materials

  • Technique

  • Dimensions

    • Height: 70 centimetres
    • Width: 47.6 centimetres (max.)
  • Inscriptions

      • Inscription Type

      • Inscription Position

        on pillar at reverse
      • Inscription Content

        CAROLUS BURNEY D.D./Nollekens Ft./1815.
  • Curator's comments

    See also 1819,0110.3 (bust of his father, Dr Charles Burney the Elder)Dawson 1999
    The bust is made of very creamy marble with several bluish veins, which are most evident at the back of the work, is possibly of Calacata 'cremo' type (E.Dolci, Carrara Cave Antichi: Materiali Archeologici, Carrara, 1980, no. VII, p. 149). The socle may be of white statuary marble.

    Bibliography: A. Graves, The Royal Academy of Arts: a Complete Dictionary of Contributors and their Work from its Foundation in 1769 to 1904, London, 1905, p. 383.

    Displayed: ?c.196O, North Library Gallery (MLA slip catalogue); 1988, King's Library, South End.

    Provenance: Family descent from the sitter, presented by Edward Burney MC, through Mrs S. M. Burney in her husband's name, 1944.

    Charles Burney the Younger, a classical scholar who published works on Greek lexicography and tragic poetry, was born at Lynn, Norfolk, the son of Charles Burney (see registration no. 1944,0704.1 ) and the brother of Fanny Burney, the novelist. He was educated at Charterhouse and Caius College, Cambridge but left without a degree. He graduated MA from Aberdeen University in 1781 and LL.D in 1792. In 1782 he was assistant master at Highgate School, later joining Dr Rose at his school in Chiswick. He kept a private school at Hammersmith between 1786 and 1793, and subsequently at Greenwich from 1793 to 1813. He resigned in favour of his son, Revd Charles Parr Burney. After taking Holy Orders late in life, he became rector of Cliffe, Kent and of St Paul's Deptford, and was chaplain to the King. With his father and sister he had close connections with the Court. Burney died at Deptford and is buried there.
    Burney's library of 14,000 volumes and 525 manuscripts was purchased for the Museum with a Parliamentary grant for £13,500 in 1817. The library includes newspapers from 1603, theatrical prints and works about the theatre.

    For information about the sculptor, Joseph Nollekens, see registration no. 1944,0704.1.

    Whinney believed that busts carved by Nollekens in the last few years of his working life, which ended just before 1820, were in a rather fleshy style.(1) The highly polished drapery which is somewhat creamier in tone than the face, itself perhaps cut further into the block of marble used, is full of movement. It betrays no loss of the power evident in the bust of Burney senior, even though the pose is less dramatic. The bust is carefully finished at the back.
    The marble was engraved by J. Thomson for the European Magazine, 1819.(2) An anonymous pencil drawing of Burney to left survives in the Museum archive. It predates 1860.

    (1) M. Whinney, Sculpture in Britain 1530-1830, rev. ed. John Physick, 1988, p. 302.
    (2) European Magazine, vol. LXXV, 1819, des. Wivell.


  • Bibliography

    • Dawson 1999 12 bibliographic details
  • Exhibition history


    1815, London, Royal Academy, no. 889

    Was displayed in the King's Library, South End for a number of years; noted there in 1981, and definitely there earlier than this.

  • Condition

    minor damage to right shoulder and left front

  • Conservation

    See treatments 

    Treatment date

    8 March 1995

    Reason for treatment


    Treatment proposal

    Clean, investigate coating, consolidate delaminations.


    Superficial dirt. Surface coated. Area of damage to lapel of coat.

    Treatment details

    Steam cleaned using distilled water; run off dirt and water absorbed into soft tissue. Also poltice of white spirit, distilled water and synperonic N applied on stubborn areas on cotton wool. Missing areas on lapel of cloak and on right shoulder filled with Microballoons (silica or phenolic resin) in Paraloid B72 (ethyl methacrylate copolymer) 20% in Acetone (propan-1-one/dimethyl ketone)/Industrial methylated spirits (ethanol,methanol) and retouched with acrylic paint. Waxed overall with Renaissance wax (cosmolloid 80H-microcrystalline wax,BASF hard wax "A"-polyethylene wax,white spirit)

    About these records 

  • Associated names

  • Acquisition name

  • Acquisition date


  • Acquisition notes

    Family descent from the sitter, presented by Edward Burney, MC, through Mrs. S.M. Burney in her husband's name.

  • Department

    Britain, Europe and Prehistory

  • Registration number


Marble portrait bust of  Revd. Charles Burney the Younger (1757-1817) by Joseph Nollekens RA (1727-1823); head and shoulders; head turned to left, attached to a waisted circular socle of different marble.

Marble portrait bust of Revd. Charles Burney the Younger (1757-1817) by Joseph Nollekens RA (1727-1823); head and shoulders; head turned to left, attached to a waisted circular socle of different marble.

Image description



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