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Portrait of Lady Caroline Montagu (d. 1892) in Byronic Costume

Portrait of Lady Caroline Montagu (d. 1892) in Byronic Costume

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Not currently on view

George Hayter

Commissioning a portrait with an exotic setting was popular among the early nineteenth-century aristocracy, a trend that informs this portrait of Lady Caroline Montagu (d. 1892), daughter of the Fifth Duke of Manchester. Lady Caroline is depicted as Haidée, a figure from Lord Byron’s epic poem Don Juan, published between 1819 and 1824. In Byron’s work, Don Juan is shipwrecked on a Greek pirate island where he meets Haidée, the pirate’s daughter. Dressed in an elaborate and brightly colored costume, with a dagger in her sash and a treasure chest at her side, Lady Caroline looks the part. However, the decorum of her pose and expression are appropriate for a woman of her social status in British society. Combining traditional English painting ideals with contemporary continental trends, George Hayter secured an enduring reputation in the history of English painting. After receiving his initial training at the Royal Academy, he traveled and studied in Italy and France from 1826 to 1831. The French Romantics, who were attracted to foreign, dramatic, and dangerous themes, strongly influenced Hayter while he was abroad. Working in this popular new style upon his return to England, Hayter’s reputation soared. In 1832, Hayter painted the portrait of the young Princess Victoria, and when she became queen in 1837, she appointed him official portrait and history painter.
George Hayter
(English, 1792 - 1871)
Portrait of Lady Caroline Montagu (d. 1892) in Byronic Costume
Oil on canvas
77 1/4 x 57 3/4 in. Overall
Evjue Foundation Grant purchase in honor of Mrs. Frederick W. Miller
Accession No.


1993, sold by Christopher Wood Gallery (London, England) to the Elvehjem Museum of Art [now called Chazen Museum of Art]

  • Noon, Patrick. "Constable to Delacroix: British Art and the French Romantics." London: Tate Britain, 2003.
  • Bryan, James E. "Sir George Hayter's Portrait of Lady Caroline Montagu." Bulletin/Biennial Report 1997-1999. Elvehjem Museum of Art (1999): 32-41. pp. 32-41
  • Elvehjem Museum of Art. "Bulletin/Annual Report 1993-1995." Madison: Elvehjem Museum of Art, 1995. p. 100
  • Elvehjem Museum of Art. "Artscene." Vol. 20, No. 2, July- December 2003. p. 9
  • Chazen Museum of Art. "Artscene." Vol. 27, No. 1, January-June 2010. p. 3
  • Elvehjem Museum of Art. "Bulletin/Biennial Report 1997-1999." Madison, WI: Elvehjem Museum of Art, 2000 p. 33

  • re:mancipation: Chazen Museum of Art, 2/6/2023–6/25/2023
  • Constable to Delacroix: British Art and the French Romantics: Tate Britain, 2/6/2003–5/11/2003

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