Averil Mary Burleigh (1883 - 1949)

Self-portrait, 1928

SKU: 11352
Tempera on panel

Height – 62cm
Width – 51cm


The Artist’s Daughter, Veronica; Louise Whitford; The Piccadilly Gallery; Private Collection since 1990

As with their favouring of historic subject matter, the Burleigh family often adopted Renaissance and Medieval guises in their portraiture and self-portraiture. In this striking portrait, Averil Burleigh depicts herself in the clothing of a Quattrocento artist, holding aloft a measuring instrument in her right hand – a Galilean sector compass, perhaps – which adds a further note of authenticity and theatricality to the work.

This work is similar in feel to an earlier portrait of Averil by her husband, Charles Burleigh (1875-1956), in which she wears a comparably anachronistic cream top, brown coat and feathered hat. But this self-portrait is more confident and direct, affirming her position as an artist who was by this point exhibiting extensively with the Royal Academy, the Royal Society of Artists, the New English Arts Club, the Royal Institute of Oil Painters, the Paris Salon and with numerous other associations.

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Averil Mary Burleigh
Averil Mary
1883 - 1949

Averil Burleigh studied at Brighton School of Art and married fellow painter Charles Burleigh (1870’1956) ‘ together they spent much of their lives in Hove and Sussex.

She specialised in tempera painting and her work is characterised by a bright palette underpinned with a bold sense of graphic design. She often painted decorative renaissance subjects whilst adding a touch of modernity, through the inclusion of contemporary clothing. Her compositions are usually dominated by female figures ‘ often in various states of revelry. She frequently used her daughter, the artist Veronica Burleigh (1909’1999), as the central model. She also illustrated many books, including Thistledown by Leolyn Louise Everett, published in 1927.

She exhibited extensively throughout her career, including at the RA, the RSA, the NEAC, with the SWA, the ROI, Walker Art Gallery and the Paris Salon. She was also a member of the SMDPT and was elected a member of the RI in 1936 and an associate of the RWS in 1939.


Averil Mary Burleigh (1883 - 1949)
The Troubadour, 1928
Averil Mary Burleigh (1883 - 1949)
Self-portrait, 1928
Averil Mary Burleigh (1883 - 1949)
The Still Room, 1928