English School, circa 1812 George Gordon Byron, 6th Baron Byron (1788–1824), wearing dark blue coat, yellow waistcoat and white chemise open at the neck, red curtain background
Lot 111
English School
circa 1812
George Gordon Byron, 6th Baron Byron (1788–1824), wearing dark blue coat, yellow waistcoat and white chemise open at the neck, red curtain background
Sold for £960 (US$ 1,613) inc. premium
Auction Details
Lot Details
English School, circa 1812
George Gordon Byron, 6th Baron Byron (1788–1824), wearing dark blue coat, yellow waistcoat and white chemise open at the neck, red curtain background.
Gilt-mounted papier-mâché frame, inscribed on the reverse, 2nd Byron/ 1788-1824/ Given by Lord Byron/ to his friend/ Andrew Fitzgerald Reynolds/ Melton.
Rectangular, 75mm (2 15/16in) high

Footnotes

  • The present lot can be closely compared with a portrait miniature of Byron, circa 1812 by George Sanders, illustrated in the Burlington Magazine, April 1915 from the Lord Lovelace Collection. The Sanders portrait and the present lot both show the poet at a slightly younger age than James Holmes' portraits of 1816. The date of the present lot suggests that it was painted just before Byron headed to Europe on the Grand Tour, making it likely to have been a parting gift for his friend Andrew Fitzgerald Reynolds. Unlike most likenesses of the poet from this period, the present lot shows Byron without his "trademark" cloak, perhaps suggesting that in this portrait he wanted to be depicted in a less "poetic" pose.

    Byron spent his early childhood years in poor surroundings in Aberdeen. After he inherited the title and property of his great-uncle in 1798, he went on to Dulwich, Harrow, and Cambridge, where he piled up debts and aroused alarm with bisexual love affairs. Staying at Newstead in 1802, he probably first met his half-sister, Augusta Leigh with whom he was later suspected of having an incestuous relationship.

    In 1807 Byron's first collection of poetry, Hours Of Idleness appeared to bad reviews. Real poetic success came in 1812 when Byron published the first two cantos of Childe Harold's Pilgrimage. He became an adored character of London society, but when rumours about incest started and his debts accumulated, he left England in 1816, never to return. He settled in Geneva with Percy Bysshe Shelley, Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley, and Claire Clairmont, who became his mistress. At the end of the summer Byron continued his travels, spending two years in Italy. While in Ravenna and Pisa, Byron became deeply interested in drama, and wrote among others The Two Foscari, Sardanapalaus, Cain, and the unfinished Heaven And Earth.

    Byron contracted a fever from which he died in Missolonghi on 19 April 1824. Memorial services were held all over the land. Byron's body was returned to England but refused by the deans of both Westminster and St Paul's. Finally Byron's coffin was placed in the family vault at Hucknall Torkard, near Newstead Abbey in Nottinghamshire.
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