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Burt, Albin Roberts

Date and place of birth:
1 December 1783, presumed Wales
Date and place of death:
1 March, 1842, Reading
(fl) Presumed 1807-1842
Known places of work:
Known techniques:
Painted on paper
Known materials:
Papier-mache & with engraved initials on hanger


Burt’s parents, Harry Burt and Mary Roberts, were related to and friendly with Lady Hamilton and Lord Nelson. Therefore many of Burt’s sitters were members of the gentry or otherwise notable figures of his day. Trained as an engraver, trade label evidence suggests Burt was a prolific silhouettist, though few pieces survive today.

Born on December of 1783, we have no verifiable date as to when Burt started work as a silhouettist. The earliest date on any of Burt’s extant silhouette pieces is 1807. He married a Sarah Jones in 1810 and the couple had eight children. Burt trained primarily as an engraver and his work was exhibited twice at the Royal Academy, in 1807 and 1830 – both portraits. However, engraving was far from his sole trade. The one trade label discovered boasts of his having painted over 4,000 profile miniatures. Also mentioned is a “New invented machine by which the most accurate likeness can be taken...”Although little of his profile work is verified, he appears therefore to have been very prolific. The examples which do survive are typically of members of the gentry, reflective of his family’s high social status.

Although very few profiles by this artist have come to light, McKechnie advises that a Burt profile could expect to be bust length, with a coloured body and the liberal, fine use of gum Arabic. Burt is also known to have typically stencilled his sitters’ names and the date of execution under the bust line. Not surprisingly, as he trained as an engraver, it is also known that he executed profile work on shell and stone

Additional research about Albin Roberts Burt:

Source: McKechnie (Author of, British Silhouette Artists and their Work 1760-1860)

Burt, Albin Roberts (McKechnie Section 2)
Burt, Albin Roberts (McKechnie Section 6)

Source: Joll (Hon. Secretary of the Silhouette Collectors Club and Editor of the Club's newsletter)

Burt, Albin Roberts (SCC Newsletter January 2009)