New Book | Dangerous to Show: Byron and His Portraits

Posted in books by Editor on May 25, 2021

Distributed in the US and Canada by The University of Chicago Press:

Geoffrey Bond and Christine Kenyon Jones, Dangerous to Show: Byron and His Portraits (London: Unicorn Publishing Group, 2020), 160 pages, ISBN: 978-1912690718, £25 / $38.

“Don’t look at him. He is dangerous to look at,” said Lady Liddell to her daughter in 1817. Handsome, charismatic, aristocratic, and allegedly “mad, bad and dangerous to know,” Lord Byron (1788–1824) is one of the most captivating and recognizable figures of the Romantic Age. His face, figure, and appearance added to the appeal of his poetry, and the close association of the man with his poetic creations encouraged a wide range of artists to create portraits during his lifetime and to memorialize him after his heroic death in Greece.

The first work on the subjects of the portraits of the poet, and written by two authorities on the subject, Dangerous to Show explores Byron’s life through the intriguing stories behind one hundred of these images. Reproduced in color for the first time, we can explore the key paintings, miniatures, sculptures, drawings, and sketches, along with a selection of prints, cartoons, engravings, and other representations of the artist. The book uses Byron’s own wit with words to recount his attempts to manage his own image through the way he was presented in his portraits, as well as through fashion, weight control, and the disguise of his lameness.

Christine Kenyon Jones is a writer and lecturer, and an expert on Lord Byron and the Romantic period. She has been published widely on Byron’s image and his portraiture; on his politics and his pronunciation; on his disability and his dieting; on his relationship with his publisher John Murray, his religious background and his afterlife as a science-fiction character. Her book Kindred Brutes is a study of animals in the Romantic period, in which Byron figures largely. She has also written, lectured and broadcast widely about the Regency period and Jane Austen. She is a Research Fellow in the Department of English at King’s College London.

Geoffrey Bond is a polymath, having had careers as a solicitor, businessman, and broadcaster. His special interests now are the creation and promotion of education initiatives for young people in the heritage, law and engineering sectors. He has written and lectured on heritage matters and chaired a variety of heritage organisations at regional and national level. A collector and antiquarian, living in an historic house, he is a Fellow and former member of the council of the Antiquaries Society of London. He has one of the best collections of Byron first editions and Byron memorabilia in the country.

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