Published Title: 

A Connection to Lord Byron

Section type: 

The scrapbook owned and partially created by Julia Conyers is a de facto sketchbook, which contains pencil-and-ink-wash drawings, watercolors, and silhouettes from 1769 to 1830. Mounted to the leaves of the 9 1/2-by-12-inch bound book, the single sheets and smaller pieces of art range from copies of old masters to portraits to scenes from domestic life. Conyers became Lady Wrottesley when she married John Wrottesley in 1819. Wrottesley was a member of Parliament who was elevated to the House of Lords in 1838. They were then known as Baron and Baroness Wrottesley.

Like Wagner’s communal album, the Conyers sketchbook includes artwork by her and by others, most notably her friend Lady Caroline Lamb. Lamb, a prominent member of society and an author, pursued an affair with Lord Byron after reading his poem “Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage” in early 1812. Although he ended the relationship in November of that year, the two continued to correspond and remained presences in one another’s lives. Her first novel, Glenarvon, published in 1816, is considered a roman à clef in which the title character is a stand-in for Byron. Although she was thought to be emotionally unstable, Lamb was a prolific writer and artist.