Lara Insulted at the Ball
(Alexandre-Marie Colin)


The Lara is a highly finished watercolor, and was probably one of a small group of watercolors of Byron subjects that Colin exhibited in the 1833 Salon. It is the original from which an engraving was made for Historical Illustrations of Lord Byron’s Works in a series of etchings by Reveil from Original Paintings by A. Colin which was published in London in 1833. This work exemplifies Colin’s connection with his friends Bonington, who was producing similar small historical and literary watercolors, and Delacroix, who had recently painted the Byron subject of The Execution of Doge Marino Faliero. Byron’s poem Lara is largely a description of a quintessentially romantic figure, Count Lara, a mysterious and tormented feudal lord who returns to his land after a long self-exile. Colin’s picture, with its detailed rendering of gothic architecture and costume, conforms closely to Byron’s text which describes Lara’s reaction to an insult received from a character named Ezzelin at a ball given by a neighboring baron Otho: He lean’d against the lofty pillar nigh,
With folded arms and long attentive eye,
Nor mark’d a glance so sternly fix’d on
Ill brook’d high Lara scrutiny like this: Reveil’s engraving for the Byron collection is captioned with the continuation of the poem:
It were too much for Lara to pass by
Such questions, so repeated fierce and
high; …
He turned and met the inquisitorial tone —
As the tale unfolds Lara falls into battle with Otho, becomes the leader of a serf rebellion, and finally succumbs to an arrow. The final drama comes when his faithful page is revealed to be a woman.

11 x 14 1/2 inches (28 x 37 cm.)
Watercolor and gouache on paper

Exhibited: Paris, Salon, 1833, no. 445; New Orleans Museum of Art, New York Stair Sainty Matthiesen, Cincinnati Taft Museum of Art, Romance and Chivalry: Literature and History reflected in early nineteenth century painting, June 1996 – February 1997, no

Where is It?
Stair Sainty Matthiesen Inc., NY
Historical Period
Neoclassicism - 1780-1820 & Romanticism - 1810-1870
1996-Romance and Chivalry: History and Literature reflected in Early Nineteenth Century French Painting.
Hardback book. 300 pages, fully illustrated with 90 colour plates and 100 black and white illustrations. Introduction (40 pages) by Guy Stair Sainty, twelve essays, catalogue, appendix of salons 1801-24 and bibliography. £50 or $80 inc. p.& p.

(Click on image above)
Price band
$5,000 - $50,000