Nobleman Incognito: Byron’s Albanian Dress

  • Gerald EganEmail author


This chapter looks at how Regency fashion, authorial celebrity, and national identity coalesce in an iconic painting of Lord Byron, Portrait of a Nobleman in Albanian Dress, as it is publicly unveiled at London’s Royal Academy Exhibition of 1814. Byron’s conspicuously anonymous portrait is a fashion statement best understood in the context of the Academy’s Exhibition Hall, a public space which, at the height of the Napoleonic Wars, teems with “everyone from great aristocrats to the lowest ranks.” On the walls of the Exhibition Hall, Byron’s Albanian portrait competes for attention with paintings of British military heroes and aristocrats in full state dress. Like all successful fashion statements, the poet’s exotic dress deftly provokes and even courts outrage while foregrounding his controversial “foreignness.”

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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.California State University, Long BeachPalos Verdes EstatesUSA

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