Date range is based on style of drawings
Artist: E.F. Burney was the nephew of Charles Burney, the musicologist, and cousin to Fanny Burney whose portrait he painted. He was a book illustrator of the late 18th century who contributed to Bell's Shakespeare and Bell's British theatre as well as numerous other publications
History: Burney contributed 7 designs to Bell's edition of Shakespeare, all of which follow the same format as the 3 designs noted here. The scenes in Bell illustrated by Burney are from Two gentlemen of Verona, Taming of the shrew, All's well, King John, Henry IV, pt. 2, King Lear, and Cymbeline. Original designs for King John, King Lear, and Cymbeline are housed in the Turner extra illustrated Shakespeare at the Huntington Library. A reproduction of the King John design included in R.R. Wark's catalog of the Turner Shakespeare shows its similarity to the 3 Folger drawings. A pencil note at the bottom right corner of the backing to which the Folger Burney drawings have been glued claims them to have been engraved, though they are not included in Bell's Shakespeare. Cataloger has been unable to locate engravings after these designs elsewhere
Illustrations are executed in tondos, 3" in diameter, which are centered in rectangles with ornamental motifs above the tondos and space for the Shakespeare play to be noted beneath. The notes identifying the plays, however, have been written not in this space but below the rectangular design. Items are labeled with play, title, act and scene division and quotation from the text. One of the drawings is initialed "E.F.B.," the other two are signed "E.F. Burney."
Provenance: Drawings are part of a collection of 122 Shakespearean watercolors, mostly attributed to J.M. Wright, with a few by other artists. The collection was purchased from a private owner by "Sabin" c. 1898 and sold to the Folgers by Gabriel Wells, April 28, 1920. (ART Inventory 289, nos. 102-104, formerly)
Subject: Twelfth night, act I, sc. 9 [i.e. sc. 5], Olivia unveiling herself to Viola who is dressed in male clothing (no.2), Merry wives of Windsor, act III, sc. 1, Evans weeping with a book in his left hand and his right hand to his eyes, "Mercy on me I have great disposition to cry" (no.3), Merry wives of Windsor, act II, sc. 2, Falstaff welcoming Ford disguised as Brooks. Falstaff is seated, holding a cup of sack in his right hand. A man stands in the doorway behind him (no.4)
Also known as
Extended title: [Illustrations to Twelfth night and Merry wives] E.F. Burney