BURNEY, Charles, letters, autographs, documents, manuscripts

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Unless otherwise indicated the image is of the most significant part of the object

BURNEY, Charles (1726-1814). Musician, author and father of Fanny Burney.
Autograph draft description of an Indian painting on ivory in his collection, 1 page 8vo (on a piece of scrap paper, section cut away at foot, not affecting the text), no date.
The painting, made in Delhi, had been presented to Burney by the 'lovely East Indian', Mrs Pleydell. She had inherited it from her father, Governor Holwell, the East India Company servant who had survived the Black Hole of Calcutta. The painting, thought by Holwell to be 'a sort of treasure', is described in Burney's Memoirs (vol. I, page 204) in terms similar to those in this draft: '... a music Gallery over a triumphal arch, through which the great Mogul passed at Agra or Delphi before his fall. The procession consisted of the Emperor mounted on an Elephant, his wives, concubines, Eunuchs, great officers of State etc all exquisitely painted. The heads of the females Sr Jos. Reynolds & Sir Robt Strange ... thought it sufficiently high finished to be set in a ring. ...'

This 'treasure', which hung over the fireplace in Burney's bedroom in Chelsea, was again described by Burney in his will (P.A. Scholes, The Great Dr Burney: his life, his travels, his works, his family and his friends, 2 vols., 1948).
[No: 25474]

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