This charming, Regency signed portrait miniature of a gentleman was painted on card by the sought after British miniature portrait artist Albin Roberts Burt (b 1783 – d 1842). The painting is wholly original, housed behind its original glass in its original frame with beautiful gilt detailing and complete with top acorn hanger. The watercolor is signed under the bust termination by the artist in pencil reading ‘Painted by A. R. Burt. Anstey’ the reverse of the painting is also signed in ink by the artist.
Measuring: Frame width 4.75 inch (12 cm) by height 5.25 inch (13 cm). Aperture width 2 1/8 inch (5.5 cm) by height 2 5/8 inch (6.7 cm).
Condition: Small 1/16 inch surface chip to bottom left corner of frame and section near top hanger of the frame. A small old stain to bottom left of painting. Paper is slightly undulated commensurate with age.
‘Burt was born on the 1 December 1783, probably in Wales, the son of Harry Burt and his wife Mary (nee Roberts). His brother, Henry Frederick Burt, was secretary to Lord Nelson and his mother was a friend of Emma Hamilton.’
‘Burt began life as an engraver, and was a pupil of Robert Threw and Benjamin Smith. He exhibited “churches” and ‘historical subjects’ at the Royal Academy in 1807 and 1830.’
‘Burt is said to have painted easel portraits of many eminent persons, including a grand piece showing Lady Hamilton as Britannia, unveiling a portrait of Nelson. In view of the association of Burt’s family with Nelson and Lady Hamilton, this portrait may well have been painted from life.’
Ref: Sue Mckechnie (1978). British Silhouette Artists and their Work 1760 – 1860 . London : Philip Wilson Publishers Ltd for Sotheby Parke Bernet Publications . p 379-380.
The sitter is Robert Anstey, esq (B Abt 1760 - D 1818) of Canon’s Leigh House, Devon. Robert Anstey was the daughter of Anne Calvert and the son of the celebrated poet Christopher Anstey (1724 – 1805). Robert Anstey, like his father, was educated at Eton and went on to study at Cambridge University. Robert is buried at Walcot St Swithin, Somerset, England.
Robert Anstey married Miss Louisa Anstey, (nee Cane) in Bath in 1796. Louisa Cane was the daughter of Lieutenant Colonel Hugh Cane, of Dowdstown, county Kildare, Ireland. Lt. Col. Cane was the Member of Parliament for Tallaght, County Dublin, Ireland.
They had a daughter called Dianna Fenwick, nee Anstey. Dianna married Reverent John Peregrine Lascelles Fenwick in 1815.
Robert Anstey’s military service was serving under the Loyal Tarbert Fencible Infantry, which was set up by Sir Edward Leslie, 1st Baronet in 1798. Robert Anstey was promoted by Sir Edward to the rank of Lieutenant Colonel in 1799. However the regiment was short lived and was disbanded in 1802. Sir Edward and Robert Anstey worked together for a number of years as the Chairman, and Deputy Chairman of the Bath Committee, National Benevolent Institution. Committees were set up to raise money through subscriptions and donations to pay pensions to those no longer able to work because of age or illness. Interestingly the charity was set up by the young artist Peter Herve, of the long established miniature portrait line.
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Antique Regency Portrait Miniature Signed A R Burt, Lt Col Robert Anstey, Bath Circa 1812
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