Lord Byron's House

WAG 7588


Herdman has depicted the house known as the Villa Diodati, overlooking Lake Geneva in Switzerland. The house was rented by the poet Lord Byron during the summer and autumn of 1816 and he lived there with John Polidori. Whilst there, their neighbours and frequent visitors were Mary Shelley and her husband Percy. She began the novel which would become 'Frankenstein', following contests between the group to come up with ghost stories. Son of a corn merchant, Herdman was self taught and at the age of thirteen began sketching the fast-changing local scenes. He published many of his drawings in 'Pictorial relics of Ancient Liverpool', 1843, 1857 and 1878. He also exhibited views in France and Switzerland from mid 1830. His theories on curvilinear perspective were published in 'The Art Journal' 1849. Alderman William Bennett and Joseph Mayer were among his patrons, and large collections of his and his son's views are in the Liverpool City Library (some formerly Walker Art Gallery) and some with the Mersey Docks and Harbour Board.