Purcell, the famous composer, is said to have written his first composition at the age of eleven in honour of Charles II's birthday. He became organist of Westminster Abbey in 1679, and of the Chapel Royal in 1682. He composed religious anthems, secular songs, instrumental pieces, odes, music for plays and 'semi-operas', and the famous Dido and Aeneas, one of the first English operas, and the Fairy Queen. According to John Evelyn he was 'esteemed to be the best composer of any Englishman hitherto'.This is the only known portrait drawing of Purcell, and the earliest drawing of an English composer to survive. The sketch was almost certainly taken from life and at one time belonged to the eighteenth-century musicologist Dr Charles Burney.
Where to see this painting?
National Portrait Gallery, London
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