London, Published by John Murray, 1827
Line engraving on india with very large margins, platemark 190 x 115mm (7½ x 6"). Tipped into album sheet.
George Gordon Noel Byron (1788-1824), British poet and archetypal Romantic figure. Byron was celebrated in life for aristocratic excesses including huge debts, numerous love affairs, rumours of a scandalous incestuous liaison with his half-sister, and self-imposed exile. He travelled to fight against the Ottoman Empire in the Greek War of Independence, for which Greeks revere him as a national hero. He died at 36 years old from a fever contracted while in Missolonghi, Greece. Engraved from the portrait by Thomas Phillips, which was undertaken as part of a commission by the publisher William Miller to paint the portraits of several poets whose works he published, the intention being to hang them together at Miller's house at 50 Albemarle Street, London. Annette Peach writes of the commission: "In 1813 Murray commissioned from Phillips a portrait of Byron (who brought the publisher more commercial success than any other of his writers), which still hangs over the drawing-room fireplace in Albemarle Street. The half-length view famously shows a pale-complexioned Byron in a white shirt with a large turned-down ‘Byronic’ collar open at the neck to reveal his throat, and wrapped in a dark cloak. The dress and pose are identical to that of Charles Mayne Young in his portrait by G. H. Harlow (1809; Garrick Club, London), where the actor is portrayed as Hamlet, and it is possible that Byron saw Young perform this role. As in his portrait of Blake, Phillips's ability to convey the Romantic (and here self-dramatizing) cast of his sitter's imagination indicates that, although his œuvre is less flamboyant than that of his contemporary Sir Thomas Lawrence, he, too, was quintessentially a Romantic painter." One of several engravings made from Phillips' portrait.
Not in O'D; For a larger version of the same image see ref. 34943.
[Ref: 34949] £120.00