© National Portrait Gallery, London
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’.