George Gordon Byron, 1831
Plaster. 174 cm
Inventory number: A130
Works, relating to this work: Thorvaldsen, The Byron Monument, marble version, Wren Library, Trinity College, Cambridge, EnglandEnlarge photo
Childe Harold is what is written on the book, and this identifies the man. Containing certain autobiographical features spanning the years 1812-18, Child Harold’s Pilgrimage was in fact the work that marked the English poet Lord Byron’s (1788-1824) breakthrough. Thorvaldsen portrays him in the elevated moment of creation. By placing him on fragments of ancient buildings, he also emphasises the poet’s profound interest in Greece, the cradle of democracy and Western civilisation. The sculpture is the original model for a marble statue completed in 1835, which today stands in Trinity College, Cambridge, where Byron had been a student.