Is it Lord Byron?


Is it Byron?
Almost two years ago, I saw this in a local antique store, advertised as an 19th century hand-drawing. Believe it or not, I passed it up, then decided I was nuts and went back and purchased it for about $40.00. I refrained from saying to the cashier, “Do you think this is Lord Byron? I really think this is Lord Byron.”

When I went to England in June 2005, I looked everywhere for a similar portrait of Byron, especially when we visited Newstead Abbey, but I never saw anything like it. So I am leaving it up to you. I have reversed some well-known Byron portraits and put them in black and white, for comparison.

Is my sketch Lord Byron?



This is what I imagine. A young Regency miss was infatuated with Lord Byron. Perhaps she even glimpsed him in Mayfair, at a ball or the theatre. She and her girlfriends sighed over his Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage, bought engravings of his portrait at the local print shop. She did what I did when I was a teenager. She drew her own picture of Byron, putting him in exotic dress, like she would have imagined Child Harold to wear.

Of course, when I was a teenager, the hearthrob I drew a portrait of was Paul McCartney of the Beatles. I’d scan that too, if I knew where it was. I still have it someplace. I just went on a long search and found all sorts of other things (including my photo of William Shatner as Captain Kirk) but no Paul McCartney.

Weigh in here with your opinions. Do I have a portrait of Byron?
Confess. Who would you have drawn in those tender years of infatuation?

Cheers!
Diane (who has so far refrained from drawing Gerard Butler–or anyone else for a brazillion years)

About diane

Diane Gaston is the RITA award-winning author of Historical Romance for Harlequin Historical and Mills and Boon, with books that feature the darker side of the Regency. Formerly a mental health social worker, she is happiest now when deep in the psyches of soldiers, rakes and women who don’t always act like ladies.
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24 Responses to Is it Lord Byron?

  1. Anonymous says:

    I’m not sure he’s Byron, but he’s certainly Byronic. 🙂

    I never drew anyone during my early adolescent infatuations because my art skills are limited to stick figures–outside of writing, my only artistic accomplishment is singing. But my first big infatuation, dating all the way back to when I saw THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK as a 4th grader, was Harrison Ford as Han Solo. Harrison as he is now does nothing for me, but I can still get a little swoony for Han, and even more so for Indiana Jones. And I think my latter-day crushes on Sean Bean as Sharpe and Nathan Fillion as Mal Reynolds stem at least in part from my childhood Han love!

  2. If I had the talent to draw, I’d certainly choose Gerry Butler, but alas, my talent lies not in drawing.

  3. I’m with you, Susan. Harrison Ford, particularly as Han Solo and Indiana Jones in the first movie, was a heartthrob of the highest order! Not so now. I heard on Enews that he may (at age 64) do another Indiana Jones. I shudder at the thought!
    Sean Bean made a wonderful Sharpe, even though he did not quite match the Sharpe of my imagination, from listening to the Audiobooks.

    I had to look up Nathan Fillion, but I do see what you mean!

  4. Ah, Rayne Forrest! A kindred spirit! yay Gerry!

  5. Judy T says:

    When placed side by side, it definitely looks like Byron to me; however, it doesn’t look like the one picture I remember seeing when I visited his home… was it his home? Sorry, it’s been 20 years, and the memory is fading. The picture I remember had his hair longer. The picture would fit perfectly if it were drawn while he was in Greece.

    My drawning skills are also sadly lacking. My sketching only stretched as far as horses and dragons. Who would I have drawn, if I could? The list is endless and varied. 🙂

  6. Anonymous says:

    Sean Bean made a wonderful Sharpe, even though he did not quite match the Sharpe of my imagination, from listening to the Audiobooks.

    I met Bernard Cornwell at the Surrey writers conference in October, and he said that he still pictures Sharpe as he originally created him–dark hair, blue eyes, tall, etc.–but that he now hears him with Sean Bean’s voice. Later in the Q&A session, he was talking about the joys of writing, how when it’s going well you can’t even sleep because your characters keep you awake talking to you, at which point he made a deadpan aside to the effect that yes, he hears Sean Bean’s voice in his bed at 2:30 in the morning.

    Diane, if you lived close by I’d loan you my Firefly DVDs so you could fully appreciate Nathan Fillion! I used him as a sort of springboard for a recent hero’s look, way of moving, etc., and he Regencies up VERY pretty in my brain (for all values of “pretty” involving tough, battle-scarred Peninsular War veterans).

  7. Judy T, I think you are remembering the portrait of Byron in his Albanian costume. I almost put that on the blog, too. Amanda and I saw the actual costume in Bath, at the Jane Austen house, I believe.

    Susan, I already saved Nathan’s photo in my Heroes folder, so he may appear in one of my books someday.
    I saw Bernard Cornwell at a local booksigning, which was a great thrill. He is such an entertaining speaker.
    The Sharpe I hear is the narrator of the Chivers audiobooks, William Gaminara. Sigh! I can just hear him saying, “Sharpe swore..”

  8. Cara King says:

    He does look remarkably like Byron!

    Comparing the pics, the one you have has a slightly different jawline, and slightly different eyebrows, but everything else of his face seems identical. I think your teen fan explanation seems sound! 🙂

    Confess. Who would you have drawn in those tender years of infatuation?

    I couldn’t draw either, but I did cut out pictures of Thomas Dolby, Sean Penn, and Timothy Hutton… 🙂

    Cara

  9. Lois says:

    Ooh, too tough. . . I think there is a resemblance around the eyes and nose area, but tough one.

    Alas, I can’t draw, although you can tell when I draw space shuttles and planets! But I have plenty of pics and autographed pics of people.

    Lois

  10. Judy T says:

    Yes! Thank you, Diane! How cool that you got to see the actual costume! I wish I could go back with what I know now. I missed seeing so much, simply because I didn’t know.

  11. Manuelita says:

    Well that drawing is cool! I think the sketch is a pretty close resemblance to Byron.

    Diane, I think you should go ahead and draw Gerry then post it here.

    I cannot draw at all.

  12. Anonymous says:

    I agree with Cara, it does almost look like him.

    I do recall some history of him likeing young women alot. And had a thing for young ladies 16 and 19 and had an afair with someone that young. So who knows who the Lady was that drawed such a very likeness of him. Maybe the Lady who sketched him was an admirer or wouldnt be wonderful, had an afair with him! ;)hehe.

    I believe that like real photos, it varies but is the person. For when someone sketches, paints a person one cant get it completely exact of the person they are drawing, so I believe someone could have been sketching him. I think its wonderful and mysterious.

    I’m glad you shared this insteresting mystery Diane!

  13. Anonymous says:

    Oh, I was just now looking on the internet of his history again, and just like I remembered he was painted in exotic wear. It looks as if in your sketch he is wearing this time an Jewish cap.

    Now that I reread your post I realise you stated it was sketched in 19th c, and not 18th c. So now hopes are crushed, no wild love afair when the Lady sketched it in another time. Alas. :)But it does look like an more 18th c sketch too me, hence the mess up.

    Here’s some great photos of him, even in the Albanian dess,

    http://englishhistory.net/byron/contents.html

  14. He is definitely “Byronic”! I bit chubby-cheeked, though. Maybe it’s when he was off his potatoes diet. 🙂 And I love the story you came up with, Diane! Plus I think you should do a Gerry Butler sketch for us…

    I actually have a postcard of that Albanian costume we saw! I saw it when I was digging out the Elgin Marbles stuff. I’ll have to scan it and post it.

  15. I think it would have been from the early 1800s, Mallory. He published Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage in 1812 and that was when he zoomed into stardom.

    I like your scenario for my teenage Regency girl, though. Perhaps Byron even gave her a lock of his hair.

    Judy, I hope you get to go back to England someday. In the meantime, I love the internet because I can travel there anytime I want, virtually.

    Cara, I had to look up Thomas Dolby. I can see the appeal!

    Manuelita, I would not dare try to draw Gerry! I have not drawn in years. He was, however, the model for Tanner, who will appear in Rose’s story, Innocence & Impropriety, which comes out in March.

    Lois, you must have your head in the stars, drawing space ships and planets! I’m all for being “starstruck!”

  16. Jane George says:

    I too agree with Cara, the likeness is mostly there except for the jaw. And in all modesty, I am an artist (with a degree and everything!)and can draw anything except cars, which I dislike.

    But I didn’t draw any early crushes. 🙁
    If I had, I’d have sketches of David Carridine as Kwai Chang Cain in Kung Fu, which I begged to stay up and watch when I was ten. Oh boy, dated myself there!

  17. Jane George, I remember Kung Fu! Good choice! And I didn’t date myself by mentioning Paul McCartney???

    What kind of art did you do? I was an art major for only one year of college and I was average, so I didn’t pursue it. I still doodle but that’s it. Sometimes I wish I had time to paint again. But, then, I’d also like to take piano lessons and dance lessons.

  18. Cara King says:

    Cara, I had to look up Thomas Dolby. I can see the appeal!

    Okay, now I’ve got to make sure you’ve seen the right pictures! Here’s a link to some pics of him back then, when he was our gorgeous geek god:

    http://tinyurl.com/dbje4

    (He still makes wonderful music… But he was cuter then.) 🙂

    Cara

  19. Jane George says:

    Hi Diane,

    I have a degree in illustration and have been honored by the San Francisco Society of Illustrators and national Society of Illustrators in NYC. But I found myself breaking even between payment and self promotion. So I paint for myself and took up writing novels, another difficult, masochistic, and delightfully compulsive occupation!
    Once I sell I am determined to illustrate the covers of my own work. Wish me luck there!

    Loved THE MARRIAGE BARGAIN, by the way. Especially the sitting up in the coffin scene. 🙂

  20. Cara, Okay. now I REALLY know what you mean!

    Jane, do you mean that writing isn’t the only creative pursuit that doesn’t necessarily yield a fortune? I think that would be exciting to illustrate your own covers!

    Thank you for your nice words about The Marriage Bargain. I kinda liked that scene, too. It was fun to write. I had read a book about the history of the fear of being buried alive and that was the germ of the idea for The Marriage Bargain.

  21. Anonymous says:

    My art skills (??), don’t make me laugh. But I was (and still am) great at gawking at publicity photos in magazines or on the ‘Net.

    I have to say that the man in your drawing resembles Byron very closely, except for the squareness and longishness on the jawline in profile when you compare the first portrait on the right. The first portrait is also of a younger man, hence the childish roundness probably to the jaw.

    The jaw look really close to the one in the second portrait, though the portrait’s jaw in fleshier. The third portrait’s profile is different so it’s difficult to exactly compare the jawlines.

    But in all other aspects, they are so alike. Looks like you have a match and a keeper!

    Ooh Diane, dance lessons, of course!

    Comments on the eye candy…

    –Harrison Ford as Indian Jones was delicious
    –Gerard Butler was OH! MY! yummy as Beowulf
    –Josh Holloway is (sigh) dreamy in all guises
    –Johnny Depp and Capt. Sparrow (what’s not to like)
    –Sean Connery as Bond (mais oui!)

  22. Todd says:

    To quote Alanis Morissette: isn’t it Byronic, don’t you think?

    Todd-who-thinks-it’s-like-raaeeeaaiiiin-on-your-wedding-day-(only-not-really)

  23. Greta says:

    What a fun post!

    I only drew horses as a girl, but the first Anonymous and I seem to have identical taste in men–Han Solo, Sean Bean as Sharpe, and Nathan Fillion as Mal. Sigh, indeed! They’re all kind of super-competent rebel cynic types, aren’t they? (With hidden romantic streaks.)

  24. Diane Gaston says:

    I drew horses, too, when I was younger, Greta. Then I graduated to rock stars and actors! Now I just create my own heroes.

    To see another version of this blog, go to
    http://www.yareah.com/magazine/index.php/literature-literatura/284-is-it-lord-byron

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