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Lord Byron

2 of 37 portraits of Lord Byron

Lord Byron, by Richard Westall, early 19th century, based on a work of 1813 -NPG 1047 - © National Portrait Gallery, London

© National Portrait Gallery, London

Regency Portraits Catalogue

Lord Byron

after Richard Westall
early 19th century, based on a work of 1813
30 in. x 25 in. (762 mm x 635 mm)
NPG 1047

This portraitback to top

Dallas, who knew Byron well, believed all his portraits to be full of faults and said: 'the picture of Byron by Westall is superior to the others, but does not come up to the original. As for the copies and engravings which have been taken from these pictures and circulated, they are all exaggerated and deserve the appellation of caricatures' (R. C. Dallas, Recollections quoted by Contessa Guiccioli) .
Sir David Piper, under whose directorship of the NPG Westall's original portrait was acquired, describes that as 'the sober one', and of NPG 1047 he declares 'it shows, fairly repulsively, the process of apotheosis under way. As if the original were not Byronic enough, the eyes have dilated and are cast heavenwards whence inspiration - but surely not for Byron - traditionally
comes, while the already darkly craggy background swirls into undefined mist that seems Ossianic rather than Byronic' (Sir David Piper, The Image of the Poet, 1982, pp 133-4).

Physical descriptionback to top

Half-length seated in profile to left as in NPG 4243 except for the eye which gazes upwards.

Provenanceback to top

William Smith in 1868; Foster's of Pall Mall 18 March 1896 when bought by J. Glen of Praed Street and bought from him by the NPG later in 1896.

Exhibitionsback to top

Possibly RA 1825 (41); Third Exhibition of National Portraits, South Kensington, 1868 (302) lent by William Smith; 'Lord Byron in Greece', Banaki Museum Athens 1974 (20.1); on loan to the House of Lords since 1976.

Reproductionsback to top

See under NPG 4243.

This extended catalogue entry is from the out-of-print National Portrait Gallery collection catalogue: Richard Walker, Regency Portraits, National Portrait Gallery, 1985, and is as published then. For the most up-to-date details on individual Collection works, we recommend reading the information provided in the Search the Collection results on this website in parallel with this text.

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