Lord Byron in Melbourne: an original bicentenary exhibition now open in CBD

Hellenic Museum

A collection of works centred around Lord Byron and the Greek War of Independence has come to Melbourne in a never-before-seen exhibition, commemorating 200 years since the death of the prolific poet and revolutionary.

To mark the bicentenary of the death of Lord Byron, Melbourne’s Hellenic Museum has premiered The Spirit of Byron: Philhellenism and the Greek War of Independence, an original exhibition exploring Greece’s fight for freedom and Lord Byron’s legacy through a curated selection of works on paper from The Robertson Collection.

A stunning array of 19th Century fine art, books, documents and paper ephemera has been curated across three rooms of the Museum’s heritage-listed home at the Former Royal Mint, Flagstaff, where each room has been transformed to evoke the grandeur of a Regency drawing room. It was in rooms like these that most of the war’s pivotal decisions would have been made, by people of influence and social rank; even Byron himself—despite being a figurehead of the Philhellene movement and frequently depicted as a soldier in art of the time—made his contributions to the revolt without seeing active battle.

The exhibition features several works from notable printmakers and artists of the Romantic movement, including Eugene Delacroix, Ary Scheffer, Achille Devéria and more. Together, they trace the politicised Philhellene movement throughout the Greek revolt, Byron’s evolution from artist to revolutionary figure, and his enduring connection to the cause.

Showcasing a dynamic interplay of art, literature and politics during a time of great liberal and national upheaval, The Spirit of Byron: Philhellenism and the Greek War of Independence reveals the depth of international interest in Greece’s struggle for freedom, its interpretation in visual culture of the time, and how the ‘rich Byronic postscript’ continues to whirl and spark in the present day. The exhibition is now showing 10AM–4PM daily at the Hellenic Museum, Melbourne, until January 2025.

/Public Release.