Painted in Rome - where Turner could have seen it in Eastlake's studio - this is a realisation of the beautiful island-dweller in Byron's controversial and sensual poem 'Don Juan'. Haidée personifies the philhellenic spirit of the times and a northerner's yearning for the warmth and freedom of the South or the exotic East. This picture is a striking image of a Byronic type, and was considered by the Duke of Wellington to be the best exhibit in the Royal Academy in 1831.
Gallery label, May 1992
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