- Museum number
- Object: The separation, a sketch from the private life of Lord Iron who panegyrized his wife, but satirized her confidante!!
Byron takes leave of his wife in the house in Piccadilly Terrace, in a small ante-room with open doors on the left and right. Byron, with his right arm round the waist of Mrs. Mardyn, walks off to the left towards a staircase, looking over his shoulder at his wife; he extends his left arm towards her, saying with a gesture of dismissal: "Fare thee well! and if for ever—"Still for ever fare thee well!" He wears a Byronic collar, double-breasted tail-coat with loose trousers. Mrs. Mardyn, very décolletée in a short, high-waisted dress, has an expression of triumph. Lady Byron, wearing a hat and holding her infant, is about to leave by the door on the right; she looks towards Byron, and is supported by Perry who puts an arm round her in a protecting manner. He is identified by a letter in his pocket: 'Letter to Mr Perry Morng Chronicle'. A hideous elderly woman, Mrs. Clermont, walks towards Lady Byron, scowling over her shoulder at Byron. She wears a large hat with flaunting feathers, and a dress like that of Mrs. Mardyn, but shorter, displaying misshapen legs. On the wall between the doors are a draped book-case and a picture of a reclining (?) Venus (left). Beneath this is a settee heaped with books and papers: 'Corsair a Poem by Lord Byron'; 'Lord Byrons New poems Farewell &'; a playbill: 'Theatre Royal Drury Lane—The Jealous Wife [Colman] after which Lovers Vows [Mrs. Inchbald] Amelia Wildenhain by Mrs Mardyn!' At Mrs. Clermont's feet is a paper: '"A Sketch from private life" & "Farewell" Two New poems by Lord Byron on his Departure for Italy & Greece.' Between her and Byron the carpet is covered with lines from 'A Sketch', beginning:
'"With Eye unmov'd & forehead unabashd
"She dines from off the plate she lately wash'd.
"Quick with the tale & ready with the Lie,
"The Genial Confidante & General Spy.'
- Production date
Height: 249 millimetres
Width: 333 millimetres
- Curator's comments
- (Description and comment from M. Dorothy George, 'Catalogue of Political and Personal Satires in the British Museum', IX, 1949)
See No. 12827, &c. Lady Byron and the child, maid, and nursemaid left the London house on 15 Jan. 1816. Byron did not leave his room to see them go. He attributed her decision to seek a legal separation to the influence of Lady Noel and her companion, Mrs. Clermont, who had been Lady Byron's nurse and later her governess. He therefore attacked her savagely in 'A Sketch', which was published with 'Fare thee well'. The position of Perry is curious: he defended Byron in the 'Chronicle. D.N.B.'
Reproduced, Quennell, 'Byron, the Years of Fame', 1935, p. 344.
Dated by M. D. George, c. Apr. 1816.
- Not on display
- Exhibition history
1989 Apr-Aug, Grasmere, Dove Cottage, Byron
1992 Jun-Nov, Essen, Villa Hugel, London 1800-1838
- Acquisition date
- Prints and Drawings
- Registration number