Built in 1710, the Villa Diodati lies near the shore of Lake Geneva at Cologny. Byron rented the house for the summer of 1816, along with his personal physician, John Polidori. He was visited frequently by the Shelleys and Claire Clairmont, who were staying at a smaller house nearby. It was at the Villa, while the party was confined indoors by rain, that Byron and Shelley had the long talks of which Mary Shelley remembered being ‘a devout and nearly silent listener’.
This evocative engraving, engraved by Edward Finden (1791-1857) after William Purser (1790-1852) was made for Finden’s Landscape Illustrations to the Life and Works of Byron, which appeared in fourteen monthly parts from January 1832. A recognisably Byronic figure can be seen in the right foreground. The Villa Diodati is probably best known today, however, as the house where Mary Shelley conceived of Frankenstein.