COMING HOME: Lord Byron
Past national programme archive
13 July - 3 November 2019
Newstead Abbey, Ravenshead
replica by Thomas Phillips
circa 1835, based on a work of 1813
Lord Byron (1788 – 1824) was a romantic poet whose flamboyant personality captured the imagination of Europe. The publication of Childe Harold's Pilgrimage (1812) made him famous overnight, and his Don Juan (1819-24) is the ultimate satire of Regency society. This portrait is on display at Newstead Abbey, Byron’s home between 1808 - 1814. It shows him at the age of 25, dressed in a traditional Albanian costume, and is one of the most famous and enduring images of the poet at the height of his fame. Byron visited Albania in 1809 as part of his grand tour of Europe. He loved the traditional suits and bought several to send home to Newstead – one of which is now on display at the Abbey.
The portrait was described by the essayist and poet Leigh Hunt as “by far the best that has appeared; I mean the best of him at his best time of life, and the most like him in features as well as expression.” This version is a later copy of a portrait made soon after Byron’s return from Europe. The original was bought by Lady Judith Noel, Byron’s mother-in-law, and later bequeathed to his daughter Ada.