Still Life at Newstead Abbey…

On this very day in 1811, our Poet was firing off a letter to his close friend John Cam Hobhouse as he languished inside his crumbling ancestral seat at Newstead Abbey – home to the notorious and profligate Byron family since the Reformation and which lies in the heart of Sherwood Forest in Nottingham. Some years later and with my own life having undergone a recent and dramatic change, I returned to Newstead Abbey on a beautiful September afternoon - albeit with less despondency...

A Proposal of Marriage – Possibly?

With pages marked by my 'Pride & Prejudice' bookmark, a hastily bought souvenir from Bath and as I was reading the letter written by Byron on this very day, September 9 1814 - I confess that my attention wandered to the alluring and haughty figure of Mr Darcy in conversation with a certain Miss Bennet...

Marilyn and a Million or Three!

I have been reading the book by Ghislaine McDayter which places Byron and the heady years of stardom as the patriarch of all of our modern celebrities and so in addition to being a brilliant and irreverent poet, and despite his own cynicism on the matter - Byron is also honoured as the first ever celebrity...

Let Me Have Implora Pace! Please?

On this day, July 16 and an incredible 24 years ago I celebrated the safe arrival of my youngest son Tom and in 1824 a further 195 years ago - the church of St Mary Magdalene in the town of Hucknall in Nottingham welcomed the safe arrival of Byron's remains for burial after his death at the age of 36 on April 19 in the town of Missolonghi in Greece...

Stone Me! Such a Pretentious Poseur!

John Cam Hobhouse inspired by his love of classical antiquity had commissioned the fashionable Danish sculptor Bertel Thorvaldsen to make a portrait bust of his 'dearest friend' during their visit to Rome in May 1817. One wonders if he had to try hard to persuade his 'dearest friend' to actually sit for Thorvaldsen as the first meeting between the artist and Byron was one of wry amusement on the part of one and studied indifference by the other...

MAY You Marry in Haste?

"I was married however on the 12th or 13th May (I don’t know which..." It is interesting that Byron’s mother should have been unsure as to the precise date of her fated marriage to John Byron in the year 1785. With her Scottish ancestry for omens and superstition perhaps Catherine’s confusion is understandable for she did indeed marry ‘Mad Jack’ Byron on Friday May 13 and by all accounts their brief marriage was a disaster...

A Hero’s Epic Swim.

On this day in 1810 - Byron swam across the Hellespont in search of his own Hero and while not seeking confirmation of his conjugal powers - his epic swim certainly affirms his prowess in the water...