Byrne, Letitia, 1779—1849
by Benjamin Colbert
Letitia Byrne was born in London, the daughter of William Byrne (1743-1805; ODNB), landscape engraver, and his first wife, whose family details are not known. Trained by her father, she displayed an early talent for the arts, and earned a substantial reputation for her own work as an engraver. She began exhibiting landscape views at the Royal Academy in 1799, and received numerous commissions for engravings and etchings thereafter.
Among her clients were the publishers Cadell and Davies, with whom she was on cordial terms. In one letter of 30 March 1812, she charges ‘Mr. Davies’ to ‘take the trouble of sending her this eve or early tomorrow morn the last No. of the 2d Vol. of Antiquities & place it to her account’ (Upcott). Of her work for Cadell and Davies, the Eclectic Review judged her contributions to Edward Daniel Clarke’s Travels as ‘excellent […] evinc[ing] great and progressive attainments in the art’ (306).
Her view of Versailles exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1838 suggests a visit to France around that year (Bastin and Rohatgi), but little is known of her movements otherwise. She last exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1848, the year before her death.
Bastin, John Sturgis, and Pauline Rohatgi. ‘BYRNE, Letitia (1779-1849)’. Prints of Southeast Asia in the India Office Library: The East India Company in Malaysia and Indonesia, 1786-1824. London: Stationery Office, 1979. 202. Print.
Clayton, Timothy, and Anita McConnell. 'Byrne family (per. 1765–1849), engravers and painters'. Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. 24 May 2007. Oxford University Press. Web. 3 Jan. 2019. https://doi.org/10.1093/ref:odnb/65026
Rev. of Travels into various Countries of Europe, Asia, and Africa. By Edward Daniel Clarke. Part II. Greece, Egypt and the Holy Land. Eclectic Review 6, n.s. (Sept. 1816): 292-306. Print.
Upcott, William, comp. Distinguished Women. Vol. 1. Add MS 78686, f. 57. British Lib., London.
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