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Samuel Rogers (1763-1855), banker, poet, wit and celebrated host, guided the young Byron through the literary and political circles of London when Byron first arrived in the capital in 1811. He was also a friend of Turner, and the huge success of Turner's vignette illustrations to his poem 'Italy' (1830) established the artist's reputation as a book illustrator. Rogers's breakfast parties in St James's Place assembled men from many walks of life, and both Byron and Turner are included in this imaginary gathering of 1815. Mottram's print shows the social circle in which they would have met, if at all.

August 2004