Spotted Muslin

Joseph Francis Burrell


Joseph Francis Burrell was not a prolific miniature painter as this was not his main occupation. A man of many talents, he also painted landscapes but was primarily a music teacher and in later life a Calvinist preacher.

The portrait shows a child in three-quarter length wearing a pretty spotted muslin dress trimmed with lace. With a basket of colourful flowers over her arm, she holds a pink rose next to her heart. The portrait is well-drafted with good detailing to the features and the costume.

The portrait is in fine condition and is set in the original gold frame with a split pearl border, the reverse with a gold monogram, THD, on plaited brown hair within an aperture.

Joseph Francis Burrell (1770-1853) was born in a small town in Alsace. His parents were not well off so Joseph was educated by a wealthy aunt who encouraged his musical and drawing talents. In 1788 he moved to London thereby avoiding the horrors of the French Revolution. Having quickly learned English, he set himself up as a music teacher and in 1790 married Elizabeth Roggers. It was not a happy marriage and Burrell sought consolation through Huntington’s Church and took to preaching. Following the death of his wife, Burrell married Mary Blake and with her had several children. She died in 1811 and within weeks Burrell married Naomi White, a widow and Dr Huntington’s daughter. A fourth marriage followed at the age of 76 in 1846. By now preaching was his main occupation but he also sold patent medicines from his house at Great Titchfield Street.

Burrell exhibited at the Royal Academy between 1801 and 1834. Examples of his work can be found at the V & A and the Smithsonian.

Item Ref. 7070

Size: framed, 75 x 62mm + hanger