Historical Portraits Picture Archive

Portrait of Edmund Burke MP (1729-1797) 1760s

Sir Joshua Reynolds PRA, Follower of 1723 - 1792

Portrait of Edmund Burke MP (1729-1797), Sir Joshua Reynolds PRA, Follower of
Oil on Panel
18th Century
10 1/4 x 8 1/4 inches 26 x 22 cm
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This painting is of a type that would have been popular with adherents of Burke's political and philosophical ideas, perhaps intended for placing in a library or above a writing desk. It is based on a larger original of the 1760s, which was in the collection of the Countess Fitzwilliam at Milton, to whose family it was bequeathed by Burke's wife at her death. Burke sat for this portrait and for an unfinished double portrait with his political master, Lord Rockingham between 1766 and 1770. No payment is recorded for the single image, and it is quite possible that the portrait was a gift from Reynolds. The two men had met in 1758, and had at once become good friends. Burke was a founder member of The Club, formed in 1764 at Reynolds's suggestion, and in 1773 founded a second literary club which included Samuel Johnson and David Garrick among its members.
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