Childe Harold's Pilgrimage

Various artists/makers

Not on view

Willmore's engraving, based on a painting by Turner, was published in 1861 by the Art Union of London for its large membership. Early in 1860 "The Times" newspaper reported that the plate was "now at press" and would be ready for distribution the following year. The title refers to Lord Byron's long, epic poem "Childe Harold's Pilgrimage" published in parts from 1812–18 ('Childe' is an archaic British title for the son of a nobleman). Byron saw the remnants of Italy's past as profoundly poignant: the country had, in the intervening years, lost both its liberty and integrity, but was still spectacularly beautiful. Turner first exhibited his painting at the Royal Academy of Arts in 1832 with these lines from Byron's poem:

… and now, fair Italy!
Thou are the garden of the world…
Thy wreck a glory, and thy ruin graced
With an immaculate charm which cannot be defaced.

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