Image of Frances Burney, 1782 (painted by Edward Francisco Burney) The Burney Centre at McGill University




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McGill University
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Edward Francisco Burney (1760-1848)

Image of Edward Francisco Burney
Edward Francisco Burney (c. 1785-1800)
By Edward Francisco Burney

Born: September 7, 1760
Died: December 16, 1848

Birth and Family
Edward Francisco (also known as Francesco or Francis) Burney was born in Worcester on September 7, 1760. He was the son of Richard Burney (1723-1792) and Elizabeth Humphries (c.1720-1771), the brother of Charles Rousseau Burney (1747-1819), the nephew of Charles Burney (1726-1814), and a favourite cousin of Frances Burney (1752-1840).

Artistic Training
In 1776, at the age of 16, Edward became a student at the Royal Academy School of Art. He received encouragement from Joshua Reynolds, then-president of the School. Edward exhibited at the Royal Academy of Art from 1780 through 1803. His collection included historical pieces and portraits of friends and family, including his cousin Frances (he was apparently too shy to paint other sitters).

Though he was a capable oil portraitist, Edward worked mainly as an illustrator. In 1780, he exhibited three drawings to accompany Frances Burney's Evelina, one of which was later engraved and incorporated into a 1791 edition of the novel. He went on to do a series of illustrations for Milton's Paradise Lost, which are now held by the Huntington Library.

Edward was influenced by the satirical style of Hogarth. In the 1820s, Edward did a set of four large watercolours which satirized musical and social life of the time: The Waltz and The Elegant Establishment for Young Ladies (held by the Victoria and Albert Museum), and Amateurs of Tye-Wig Music and The Glee Club, or, The Triumph of Music (held by the Yale Center for British Art). An oil version of Amateurs of Tye-Wig Music is available to view online at the Tate Gallery.

Burney died in London on December 16, 1848, at the age of 88, and was buried in Marylebone. He was unmarried.

Further Reading

Online Resources

Edward Francisco Burney DNB entry
By Robin Simon
 Available to online subscribers to the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography

Press release regarding Edward Burney's Amateurs of Tye-Wig Music
Made available online by the Tate Gallery

Edward Burney's illustrations of Paradise Lost
Made available online by George Klawitter

Selected works by Edward Burney
Made available online by the Tate Gallery

Selected works by Edward Burney
Made available online by the National Portrait Gallery

Selected works by Edward Burney
Made available online by the The City of London Libraries and Guildhall Art Gallery

Selected works by Edward Burney
Made available online by the Royal Academy of Arts

Artcyclopedia listing for Edward Burney
Made available online by the

Print Resources

Patricia D. Crown. "Edward Francis Burney, The Artist." The Burney Letter 5.2 (1999): 1-2.

---. Drawings by E. F. Burney in the Huntington Collection. San Marino: Huntington Library, 1982.

---. "Visual music: E. F. Burney and a Hogart revival." Bulletin of Research in the Humanities
83.4 (Winter 1980): 435-472.

---. Edward F. Burney: An Historical Study in English Romantic Art. PhD thesis, 1977.

Eaves, T. C. Duncan. "Edward Burney's Illustrations to Evelina." PMLA 62.4 (December 1947):

Graves, Algernon. The Royal Academy of Arts: a complete dictionary of contributors and their work
from its foundation in 1769 to 1904.
New York: Burt Franklin, 1972.

Hallett, Mark. "Reading the Walls: Pictorial Dialogue at the Eighteenth-Century Royal Academy."
Eighteenth-Century Studies 37.4 (Summer 2004): 581-604.

Loussouarn, Sophie. "An Elegant Establishment for Young Ladies d'Edward Burney: La
Représentation d'une institution de jeunes filles." RSÉAA XVII-XVIII 45 (1997): 263-280.

Peckham, Morse. "Blake, Milton and Edward Burney." The Princeton University Library Chronicle
XI (1950): 107-126.

Solkin, David H., ed. Art on the Line: The Royal Academy Exhibitions at Somerset House 1780-
New Haven & London: Yale University Press for the Paul Mellon Centre, 2001.

Waterhouse, Ellis. The Dictionary of British 18th Century Painters in Oils and Crayons. Woodbridge,
Suffolk, England: Antique Collectors' Club, 1981.

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