A Lost Portrait of the Young Lord Byron

The Pforzheimer Collection of Shelley and His Circle at the NYPL has recently acquired a photograph of a lost painting of the young Lord Byron, allegedly painted by the well-known portraitist Sir Henry Raeburn in 1805, when the poet at 17 years old.

The painting was seen briefly in the 1890s and was sold for $2000 in the early twentieth century to an anonymous buyer (via the dealer William Clausen, in the Salvador de Mendonca sale). It has since disappeared from view. This photograph, which was discovered in an album of Byroniana acquired by the Pforzheimer in 2014, is now our best witness to this compelling lost portrait of Lord Byron.

When he sat for this portrait, Byron would have just finished his term at Harrow or perhaps begun his studies at Trinity College, Cambridge.  He had become Lord Byron in 1798, but his poetic career was still ahead of him at this point. One sees the recognizable high forehead, curly hair, and wide collar that would become part of the signature Byronic look.

Some have cast doubt on the authenticity of the painting, as no record of Byron sitting for Raeburn seems to exist. However, Raeburn did paint a picture of the wife of Byron’s godfather, Mrs. Robert Duff, around this time.  Anyone with more information about the painting is encouraged to contact us.






A rather poor copy of the painting was published in Byron the Poet, ed. Walter A. Briscoe (London, 1924):





It was also imperfectly copied for Munsey’s Magazine 17 (p. 332), as part of a report on the Mendonca sale of Byron relics.



Byron Society-sponsored panel at NASSR 2015: “Lord Byron and Rights,” August 13-16, 2015

NASSR 2015
August 13-16
University of Manitoba / University of Winnipeg
Special Session: Lord Byron and Rights
Organizer and chair: Alexander Grammatikos (Carleton University)
Joselyn Almeida-Beveridge (University of Massachusetts, Amherst), “After ‘The Rubicon of Man’s Awakened Rights’: War, Debt, and the Rights of Nations in Byron’s The Age of Bronze (1823)”
Mark Lounibos (Finlandia University), “The Rights of Things in Byron’s Cain, or Hell as Hyperobject
Jacob Hughes (The Pennsylvania State University), “Byron and the Right to Be Wrong”

Reminder: Student Travel Grants (March 1 deadline)

Each year, the BSA underwrites a travel grants program for graduate students with scholarly interests in Byron. The Society offers up to four small grants to help students attend conferences at which they will deliver papers on Byron, with priority given to students presenting at the International Byron Conference, followed by students presenting at the International Student Byron Conference in Messolonghi, Greece. Although preference will be given to citizens of the United States and Canada, citizens of other countries who are enrolled in universities in the United States or Canada are also eligible to apply. A student who receives an offer of funding must be a member of the Byron Society of America before the grant will be awarded.

Click HERE for more information.

CFP: “Byron & the Bible” Conference at Newstead Abbey, 1-2 May 2015

Call for Papers

Conference on “Byron & the Bible” at Newstead Abbey1-2 May 2015

Plenary speaker: Gavin Hopps (St Andrews)

Meeting on the premises of Newstead Abbey for the second time after the success of “Byron at Home” last year, this conference continues the long-standing tradition of international May gatherings of Byronists in the UK.

Encouraging a wide variety of approaches, it seeks to explore the ways in which the Bible and Biblical topics are treated and reflected in Byron’s texts, as well as finding new ways of discussing Byron’s complex relationship to God, religion, faith, atheism/secularism, sectarian doctrine/belief, scriptural ‘history’ and many other subjects.

Papers may address, but are not limited to, the following topics:

Byron and Catholicism; Byron and Calvinism; Byron and Judaism; Byron and Islam; Byron and the Old Testament; Byron and the New Testament; Byron and belief; Byron and Christ; Byron and individual Biblical characters; Byron and prophecy; Byron and faith; Byron and sacrifice; Byron and grace; Byron and spirituality; Byronic irreverence; Byron and religious tradition.

Please submit abstracts of no more than 300 words to Dr Mirka Horova at miraensis@yahoo.no by 15 January 2015.

There will be a talk and dinner on the evening of Friday 1 May at the 281 Restaurant & Rooms hotel in Mansfield.

The conference will take place on Saturday, 2 May, approx. 10.00 – 5.00.

More details at: http://www.internationalbyronsociety.org/images/stories/pdf_files/byron_and_the_bible_2015_cfp.pdf

CFP: “Lord Byron and Rights” Special Session at 2015 NASSR Conference (Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada, 13-16 August 2015)

Lord Byron and Rights

The Byron Society of America

Open-Call Special Session 

Organizer: Alexander Grammatikos, Carleton University

Lord Byron was a passionate and life-long defender of people’s rights. In the House of Lords he argued for the right of Catholics to be represented in parliament; in his personal correspondence he supported writers’ claims to copyright over their own works; and in a decision that led to his death, he travelled to Greece to help the Greeks realize their right to become an independent nation. His preoccupation with rights extended to his poetic works, too. For example, in Sardanapalus, the misguided but well-meaning titular leader laments “To me war is no glory—conquest no / Renown. To be forced thus to uphold my right / Sits heavier on my heart than all the wrongs / These men would bow me down with” ( Here, in but just one example from Byron’s oeuvre, the poet demonstrates his keen understanding of the often relative nature of “rights” (for a king to retain his, he required war and conquest) and the personal price one had to pay to uphold them.

Complementing NASSR’s broader theme of “Romanticism and Rights,” we invite proposals that consider Byron’s engagement with “rights.” Submissions may include, but are not limited to:

  • Byron and the right to freedom of religion
  • Byron and the right to national independence
  • Byron and animal rights
  • Byron and authorial rights
  • Byron and the right to sexual and gender expression
  • Byron and the right to freedom of speech
  • Byron and the rights of the disenfranchised and poor
  • Byron and Eastern rights
  • Byron and female rights

Proposals for papers should be a maximum of 350 words and be proposals for 20-minute papers.

All proposals must include your name, academic affiliation (if any), and preferred email address. Include the name of the session (“Lord Byron and Rights”) either on your proposal itself or in the accompanying email.

Submit proposals by 17 January 2015 to nassr15@umanitoba.ca.

See http://nassr2015.wordpress.com/ for more details about the conference.