Edward Hodges Baily R.A. (1788-1867) began his career modelling portraits in wax and working in the studio of John Flaxman before attending the Royal Academy schools. He became chief designer for silversmith Paul Storr and chief modeller for the silversmiths Rundell, Bridge and Rundell. However he is best-known for his public sculpture such as the figure of Nelson which surmounts W. Railton’s memorial column in Trafalgar Square.
Baily exhibited the original marble version of this posthumous bust of Byron at the Royal Academy, London, in 1826. It is believed that model was presented in 1863 to Harrow School, where Byron was a pupil. In 1827 Baily also exhibited two busts of Byron at the Royal Society of British Artists, London, one of which is possibly the example on display in the British Embassy in Athens, Greece (GAC number 15267).
In 1823, while living outside Genoa, Byron made the decision to travel to Greece to participate in the Greek War of Independence. Despite dying of a fever in Messolonghi, western Greece, before he could see action, Byron nevertheless remains revered as a national hero of Greece. Accompanying Baily's bust in Athens is the celebrated portrait of Byron by Thomas Phillips, depicting the poet in Albanian dress, which is displayed at the British Ambassador's Residence.