Italian School, 19th Century Lord George Gordon Byron, 6th Baron Byron, FRS (1788–1824), standing before a cliff, wearing sky blue breeches and doublet, the latter with white lace and buttons, white chemise, pale yellow cummerbund, black jacket with pale yellow lining and trim to the shoulders, the hilt of his dagger just visible at his left, his right arm propped up against a tree
Lot 233Y
Italian School, 19th Century A young Gentleman, traditionally identified as Lord George Gordon Byron, 6th Baron Byron, (1788–1824), standing before a cliff, wearing sky blue breeches and doublet, the latter with white lace and buttons, white chemise, pale yellow cummerbund, black jacket with pale yellow lining and trim to the shoulders, the hilt of his dagger just visible at his left, his right arm propped up against a tree
Sold for £1,125 (US$ 1,825) inc. premium

Lot Details
Italian School, 19th Century
A young Gentleman, traditionally identified as Lord George Gordon Byron, 6th Baron Byron, (1788–1824), standing before a cliff, wearing sky blue breeches and doublet, the latter with white lace and buttons, white chemise, pale yellow cummerbund, black jacket with pale yellow lining and trim to the shoulders, the hilt of his dagger just visible at his left, his right arm propped up against a tree.
Surmouted by an enamel plaque that reads HE SWAYS THE SOUL WITH THAT/ COMMANDING ART/ BYRON'S CORSAIR, gilt-mounted within rectangular red leather travelling case, the exterior with collection label of Desmond Coke.
Rectangular, 92mm (3 5/8in) high
Provenance: The Desmond Coke Collection

Footnotes

  • 'The Corsair' was a semi-autobiographical tale in verse written by Lord Byron in 1814, which was highly influential, selling ten thousand copies on its first day of sale. Byron had based his story on tales of Barbary pirates who sailed the Mediterranean and Aegean kidnapping men and women to sell as slaves. He idealised his hero, Conrad, as "a man of loneliness and mystery". In effect his poem was a wildly romantic fantasy on the brutal reality of pirating but it caught the public imagination.

    The present lot shows the influence of the Italian artist Giambattista Gigola, who, as well as painting miniatures illustrated various publications, including Byron's "Il Corsaro" circa 1826-1828. It would seem that the present lot more likely depicts the hero of 'The Corsair', Conrad, loosely based on the image of Byron himself.

    Famously described by Lady Caroline Lamb as 'mad, bad and dangerous to know', Byron was celebrated during his lifetime, not only for his poetry but for his notorious and numerous love affairs, his rumoured incestuous relationship with his half-sister and his self-imposed exile. He fought against the Ottoman Empire in the Greek War of Independence (1821-1832), for which Greeks revere him as a national hero even to this day. He died from a fever contracted while in Missolonghi, Greece.

    Desmond Coke (1879-1931), an avid collector, was an author, who in addition to his novels, also wrote 'The art of silhouette' (1913) and 'Confessions of an incurable collector' (1928).
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