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Bernard: Oh, well... do you want to know about your book jacket? 'Lord Byron and Caroline Lamb at the Royal Academy'? Ink Study by Henry Fuseli?
Hannah: What about it?
Bernard: It's not them.
Hannah: Who says!?
Bernard: This Fuseli expert in the Byron Society Journal. They sent me the latest...as a distinguished guest speaker.
Hannah: But of course it's them! Everyone knows-
Bernard: Popular tradition only. Here we are. 'No earlier
than 1820'. He's analysed it. Read at your leisure.
Thomasina: What was Lord Byron doing?
Lady Croom: Posing.
Septimus: He was being sketched during his visit... by
the Professor of Painting... Mr. Fuseli.
One may question why Tom Stoppard chose to put this element
into the play. Fuseli was well-known for painting dark and gothic pictures
(see biographical information), yet was rarely, if ever, noted for portraits
of anykind. In the play (shown in the above excerpt) it seems to be an
obvious object of scrutiny as to whether Fuseli even did such a painting
of Lord Byron and Caroline Lamb. However, biographical research
reveals that just such a portrait was done at the Royal Academy in 1809.
Score one for Stoppard.
Was this done, assuming neither truth or falsehood, to emphasize the character of Lord Byron?
Is this a link to the overall topic
of carnal embrace, due to Fuseli's tendancy to bawdy art?
By Laura Zumbusch
See Biographical Information link