Portrait of 'Little' Sir John Byron by Unknown Artist

Admirers of Lord Byron will be fascinated by the remarkable story of this portrait showing his ancestor, Little Sir John Byron (1527-1603/4).

Details

Medium:
oil on panel
Dimensions:
76.6 × 63.8cm
Art Fund grant:
£7,500 ( Total: £26,250)
Acquired in:
2015
Vendor:
Philip Mould

Little Sir John, so called because of his diminutive stature, inherited Newstead Abbey from his father, who had acquired the former priory from Henry VIII in 1540. Sir John worked mainly on estate and family matters, and was knighted by Elizabeth I. This painting shows him with the long beard for which he became famous. The portrait hung at Newstead Abbey from its creation in 1599, and remained in the collection of Lord Byron until he sold the house in 1818. It then passed to the poet’s sister, Augusta Leigh, and hung in her apartments at St James’s Palace until her death in 1851. It then passed out of the family and has only recently been rediscovered in a private collection. After nearly 200 years’ absence, the painting now returns to Newstead Abbey as the oldest visual document relating to the estate and the earliest authentic likeness of a member of the Byron family.

Provenance

Commissioned by or for the sitter, ‘Little’ Sir John Byron of Newstead Abbey; by descent to William, 5th Lord Byron; by descent to Mrs Augusta Byron Leigh; sold Christie’s, December 2014 where acquired by Philip Mould.

Venue details

Newstead Abbey Historic House and Gardens Newstead Abbey Park, NEWSTEAD Nottinghamshire NG15 8NA 01623 455900 www.newsteadabbey.org.uk

Entry details

Free with National Art Pass (standard entry £5)

Please visit the Newstead Abbey website for full seasonal opening times

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