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Lord Byron

Date: n.d.
6 3/4 x 9 7/8 in. (17.1 x 25.1 cm.)
Medium: black and red pencil heightened with white
Credit Line: The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens. Sir Bruce Ingram Collection
Inscription: Inscribed: Ld Byron
Object Number: 63.52.3
Label Text:The aristocratic poet Lord Byron was once described as "mad, bad and dangerous to know." He was a well-known dandy, famously good-looking, and notorious for his excesses, as well as for his rebellious attitude. William Allan's drawing, however, celebrates his creative powers. In this pencil sketch, the poet appears lost in thought. He gazes upward, a hand on his chin, as if caught in a moment of inspiration. The sitter's contemplative expression and the open neck of his shirt indicate his distraction from worldly concerns and emphasize his artistic nature. Despite his reputation, or perhaps because of it, Byron was one of the most recognizable celebrities of his day. His literary status, his scandalous life, as well as his romantic death while fighting in the War for Greek Independence, made his image collectable on many levels.