This portrait shows Frances Burney (1752–1840) wearing a grand hat and gown, but with her eyes averted.
It was painted by her older cousin Edward Francisco Burney (1760–1848), who lodged with Frances’s family while studying art in London. Being too shy to paint strangers, Edward relied on people he knew, and Frances sat for this portrait despite her strong objections.
She wrote in her diary on 12 August 1782, ‘The instant dinner was over, to my utter surprise and consternation, I was called into the room appropriated for Edward and his pictures, and informed that I was sit to him for Mr Crisp!’ (Samuel Crisp was a family friend, whom the children called ‘daddy’.) Her resistance was ‘ridiculed’, and ‘both daddies’ (Crisp and Dr Burney) ‘interfered and when I ran off, brought me back and compelled my obedience’.
- Full title:
- Fanny Burney by Edward Francisco Burney, oil on canvas, circa 1784‒1785
- c. 1784‒1785
- Painting / Image
- Edward Francisco Burney
- © National Portrait Gallery
- Usage terms
© National Portrait Gallery, London
- Held by
- National Portrait Gallery
- NPG 2634
- Article by:
- Chloe Wigston Smith
- Rise of the novel, Politeness, sensibility and sentimentalism, Satire and humour, Gender and sexuality
Frances Burney’s Evelina unveils the dizzying and dangerous social whirl of Georgian London, where reputations and marriages are there to be made and broken. Dr Chloe Wigston Smith investigates Burney’s critique of fashion culture and the demands it places on women, in a novel that prizes feminine resilience.
- Article by:
- Jenni Murray
- Gender and sexuality
The diarist and novelist Frances Burney was diagnosed with breast cancer in 1810 and wrote an account of her ‘terrible operation’ for her sisters. Jenni Murray considers why this is one of the most courageous pieces of writing she has ever encountered.