- Museum number
Portrait of Edward Francis Burney, book-illustrator and painter ; three-quarter length seated to right, eyes to front, portfolio on knee
Graphite, touched with grey wash
- Production date
Height: 169 millimetres
Width: 137 millimetres
- Curator's comments
- The following text is from S. Lloyd and K. Sloan, 'The Intimate Portrait' (exh. SNPG & BM, 2008-9), cat. no. 98:
This portrait of the artist Edward Francis Burney (1760-1848) was acquired with a group of portraits of other artists in a similar format by Edridge. Here Burney wears a double breasted frock coat over a waistcoat and cravat with tight knee-breeches that tie with laces over stockings. His hair is cut with a fringe and reaches the collar. These are all typical of men's fashions of the middle of the 1790s and similar to the clothes worn by the rest of the artists in the series.
E.F. Burney was an amateur violinist in a family renowned for its association with the arts: his uncle was the music historian Dr Charles Burney and his cousin the novelist Fanny Burney. Although he exhibited history paintings and portraits of members of his family in oil at the Royal Academy, he is better known as an illustrator and thus is shown by his friend Edridge holding a portfolio and porte-crayon. Burney's stained drawings for his cousin's novel ‘Evelina’ were exhibited at the Royal Academy, London in 1780. He was at his best in large watercolour views of interiors with groups of figures: the earliest views of the Great Room at the Academy are now attributed to him and his satirical views of social occasions, such as ‘The Waltz’ (V&A) or ‘Glee-Club’ (YCBA) are sharp in their assessment of character types. The pastel colours he used and his fluid and delicate drawing style are very distinctive. He was apparently very shy and never married. All of these personal characteristics are evident in Edridge's very perceptive portrait.
Edridge was apprenticed to a mezzotint engraver before attending the RA Schools from 1784 and then beginning to earn his living as a copyist and miniature painter. He met the landscape watercolourist Thomas Hearne in 1789 and they became close friends and often sketched together. His drawn portrait of Hearne does not show him drawing, but instead holding a book open to a chapter clearly labelled 'Landscape', a tribute to their shared passion. Hearne introduced Edridge to Dr Monro and his circle and they were frequent visitors with fellow enthusiasts and professionals to Monro's house in Feltham. From 1790, Edridge began to draw small portraits of full length or seated three-quarter figures set on a terrace or by a window with a landscape view. There are a number of examples in the Museum from 1794-5, all in a similar technique to the present work, but with substantial background detail that Edridge did not include in his series of his artist friends.
SELECTED LITERATURE: LB 15; S. Houfe, ‘Henry Edridge’ in Antique Collector, vol. XLIV, 1972; R. Simon, 'Edward Francisco Burney', Oxford DNB
- Not on display
- Exhibition history
1974 July-Dec, BM, 'Portrait Drawings', no. 172
1985 Jul-Aug, Iveagh Bequest, Kenwood, 'Merlin', no. A4
2008/9 Oct-Jan, Edinburgh, SNPG, 'The Intimate Portrait', no. 98
2009 Mar-May, London, BM, Room 90, 'The Intimate Portrait', no. 98
- Acquisition date
- Prints and Drawings
- Registration number