Charles Parr Burney (1785–1864) taught at his father’s school in Greenwich and later became an Anglican minister rising to archdeacon of St Albans and then Colchester. He was the grandson of the eminent musicologist Charles Burney (1726–1814) and nephew of the novelist Frances (Fanny) Burney (1752–1840). His collection of watercolours and drawings included Girtin’s fine study for a scene for Thomas Dibdin's pantomime Harlequin's Habeas showing la Rue Saint-Denis in Paris (TG1891). The bulk of his drawings by or attributed to Girtin were, however, collaborations made with Joseph Mallord William Turner (1775–1851) for Dr Thomas Monro (1759–1833) such as An Unidentified Building and Column Set amongst Trees, Probably the Villa Negroni in Rome (TG0561). These appear to have been acquired from Monro’s posthumous sale in 1833 and they passed by descent through the family. James Holland (1800–70) recorded how 'At the sale of Dr Monro’s Drawings &c - Dr Burney and Turner met in the sale room' and that Turner acused Burney of having 'the bad taste to admire these things more than those I do now' with Burney replying that on the contrary 'I admire every thing you do Mr Turner'.1 Burney was himself a distinguished amateur artist whose carefully rendered topographical views deserve to be better known. Three of his etchings are in the collection of the British Museum.


La Rue Saint-Denis, Paris: A Scene for Thomas Dibdin’s Pantomime ‘Harlequin’s Habeas’


1794 - 1797

An Unidentified Building and Column Set amongst Trees, Possibly in Rome



  1. 1 The exchange was recorded by Joseph John Jenkins (1811–85). See the Documents section of the Archive, 1865.