George Gordon Byron

(1788 – 1824)

The poet Byron was famous for his swaggering good looks and his brilliant, reckless personality. The publication of the poem Childe Harold's Pilgrimage (1812) made him famous overnight. He was also a scathing critic, and his Don Juan (1819–24) is the ultimate satire of Regency society. Byron lived abroad from 1816 in self-imposed exile and became an attraction for English tourists. A lifelong supporter of liberal causes, he joined the Greeks in their fight against Ottoman rule but died of fever in Missolonghi in 1824.

By Richard Westall (1765 – 1836)
Oil on canvas, 1813
National Portrait Gallery, London
© National Portrait Gallery, London