Art/ Collection/ Art Object

George Gordon, Lord Byron

Date:
ca. 1820
Culture:
Italian, probably Rome
Medium:
Sardonyx and gold
Dimensions:
Overall: 1 7/8 x 1 5/8 in. (4.8 x 4.1 cm); visible cameo (confirmed): 38.1 x 33.4 mm
Classification:
Lapidary Work-Gems
Credit Line:
The Milton Weil Collection, 1940
Accession Number:
40.20.23
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 554
This portrait could date any time between the publication of Byron’s Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage (1812–18), which brought the poet global fame, and his death in 1824. Byron’s physical attractions were acknowledged by many, but as one observer, Lady Blessington, said, “I am sure that if ten individuals undertook the task of describing Byron, no two, of the ten, would agree in their verdict respecting him.” The long nose, thinning temple hair, and unruly forelock are beyond question Byron’s, but his apparition in a toga does not seem to refer to any known painted or engraved likeness.
Signature: Not signed

Marking: None
Milton Weil (until 1940; to MMA)
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