Oil on Canvas painting by Richard Buckner of Opera Tenor Singer Italo Gardoni Circa 1855

Richard Buckner
Portrait of Tenor Italo Gardoni
Oil on Canvas (visible accidents)
Signed in red at the right bottom R Buckner f:
D: 123,5 x 83 cm


The artist represented here, portrayed next to his piano, the Celebrity tenor Italo Gardoni. This identification is confirmed by the Portrait sketch by George Zobel after Leonida Caldesi published in 1855 which is on display at the National Portrait Gallery in London England. We believe this to be the same or similar date of this Portrait Painting shown.

Richard Buckner (born Woolwich, London, 25 October 1812; died 12 August 1883), was an English portrait painter. He did not marry.
Buckner was the son of an army officer and grandson of Admiral Charles Buckner. Buckner first worked in a studio in his family home, Whyke House, Rumboldswhyke, Chichester. After serving in the army in 1832 and 1833 as a Second Lieutenant in The King’s Royal Rifle Corps he studied painting under Giovanni Battista Cassevari in Rome. While in Rome Buckner gave advice to Frederick (Lord) Leighton, later PRA, when he was starting his career. Buckner lived in and had his studio in Cleveland Row, opposite St James’s Palace, in London.
He first painted miniatures but then changed to painting larger portraits. He painted Italian genre subjects and later elegant and fashionable Victorian ladies. He first sent work to galleries for sale in 1840. He exhibited at the Royal Academy of Arts in 1842 and then every year from 1846 to 1877; 77 paintings in all of which only 7 were of Italian subjects and was nominated as a candidate for the academy. He also exhibited 22 paintings at The British Institution, 44 at The Royal Society of British Artists, 3 at The Grosvenor Gallery and 3 at The Royal Scottish Gallery.
Buckner’s commission book has entries from 1840-1 to 1877. It lists 989 commissions, a few of which were not executed. It also includes a financial summary from 1842-3 to 1874-5 with fees totalling £67249. The financial summary indicates that he was in Rome full-time in 1842-3 and 1843-4 and then partly in Rome and partly in London each year from 1844-5 until 1847-8 and again partly in Rome and London 1849-50, 1850-1, 1853-4, 1854-5 and 1856-7 and then partly in Dieppe 1861-2 and Boulogne 1862-3. In 1875, he was commissioned to execute a painting at a price of 500 guineas.
Many engravings based on his works are in the National Portrait Gallery, London. His oil paintings Portrait of a boy and Portrait of a Boy Chorister of the Chapel Royal are in the Victoria and Albert Museum. Eight National Trust properties have Buckner paintings; images for most of them can be seen on the NT website. There are also works by Buckner at the British Museum, the National Army Museum, Windsor Castle, Osborne House, Woburn Abbey, the Birmingham Art Gallery, Harewood House, the Foundling Hospital, County Hall, Maidstone and Castle Leslie in Ireland. Queen Adelaide, Queen Victoria and Prince Albert commissioned some of his paintings.

Italo Gardoni (12 March 1821 – 26 March 1882) was a leading operatic tenore di grazia singer from Italy who enjoyed a major international career during the middle decades of the 19th century. Along with Giovanni Mario, Gaetano Fraschini, Enrico Tamberlik and Antonio Giuglini, he was one of the most celebrated Italian tenors of his era.

His voice was not large but it was exceptionally pure toned and sweet, lacking any disruptive vibrato. He sang legato passages with impressive smoothness but he could also dispatch florid music with flair and considerable agility.


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