Byron book found at church sale

Photo of woman holding an open book
Mrs Solana with the memorial book.

An old book bought at a church sale has turned out to be a long-lost tribute to Lord Byron.

It has been identified as the original memorial book from the family vault in Nottinghamshire where Byron was buried after his death in Greece in 1824.

Marilyn Solana, an American retired speech pathologist, bought the book at her local church sale in Savannah, Georgia. Realising it was some sort of tribute to Lord Byron, Mrs Solana started to do some research on the web.

A remarkable find
The National Library of Scotland holds the most extensive and important collection of Byron's work in the world, through the John Murray Archive. Learning of the expertise at NLS, Mrs Solana emailed asking for help – and Manuscripts Curator David McClay solved the puzzle. He said:

Lord Byron
Lord Byron.

'This is a remarkable find which offers a fascinating insight into Byron's posthumous reputation. I’m sure there will be international interest in what has come to light.'

Notable visitors to Byron's grave who are recorded in the book include:

  • American writer Washington Irving
  • Count Pietro Gamba, a close companion of Byron
  • Martin Van Buren, who was to become the eighth President of the USA.

Mrs Solana has generously donated the volume to the National Library.

Read more in our Byron memorial book press release.

7 July 2011

Speak me