Taking My Leave of Number 13?

On the eve of her departure from 13 Piccadilly Terrace, Annabella had confided in her former governess Mrs Clermont that "if ever I should be fool enough to be persuaded to return I shall never leave his house alive" - however, some 198 years later in January of 2014, the doors of 13 Piccadilly Terrace reopened; albeit in 12th scale for a feature in the Dolls' House Magazine for GMC Publications...

Past Agony? Take a Stroll Along Piccadilly!

We mean to metropolize to-morrow, and you will address your next to Piccadilly. We have got the Duchess of Devon’s house there, she being in France… Lord Byron Last November I too 'metropolized' to London for a few days and on one quiet and chilly afternoon after a quick rendezvous with Lord Byron in Bennet Street, I went for a stroll along Piccadilly to take a lingering look at the abode which was the scene of his short and difficult union with the unfortunate former Annabella Milbanke AND the inspiration for the creation of Byron's abode - albeit in 12th scale!

The Ghost of Piccadilly…

As an artist AND a passionate devotee of Regency History who loves to create a scene and not only of the hysterical kind; it is perhaps only to be expected that I would create a Regency inspired miniature. Inspired by the life of the poet – the 'Ghost of Piccadilly' is the story of a 12th scale historical house which has enjoyed world wide recognition – however, the story is FAR from over! Follow me as I step inside Number 13 and return to the year 1815…

Adieu Most Amiable Mamma…

In the hagiography which often passes for the writing of Byron's life, Catherine Gordon Byron is somewhat of a Marmite figure for you will either love her or you hate her! However, my hatred of Marmite is equal to the fondness that I have for the story of this most 'Amiable Mamma' who Byron described as 'A tender and peremptory parent who indulged me sometimes with holidays and now and then with a box on the ear.'

A ‘Dashing’ Tour of Newstead Abbey!

Since discovering the hidden treasure that is Newstead Abbey I remain enraptured by the Gothic ruin which as the ancestral home of Lord Byron influenced much of his wonderful poetry and I always eagerly anticipate any visit. Excited by the promise of an 'improved visitor experience' and on a cold and pleasant day in April I was taken to Newstead Abbey for a Mother's Day treat and with our place on the new guided tour booked for 2pm, we headed over to the 'Cafe in the Abbey' for lunch...

‘Tis a Pity There Were Three of Us!

By April 1816 Annabella having already contemplated the vagaries, distress and challenge that her brief marriage of one year to Byron had brought her and having made her decision to leave in February 1816, the 'Suffering Angel' was to remain formidable in her resolution and the process towards Annabella's desire to be 'securely separated' from Byron over 200 years ago was reaching an increasingly bitter, fraught and heart breaking conclusion. Despite Annabella's consistent avowal that she would not return to him, Byron had continued to object to the separation throughout the cold months of February and March with his belief that she had been manipulated by the demands of her parents and with mischief by her former nurse and governess Mrs Clermont. In 1816 the laws for divorce were complicated and in the absence of the legality of a wife's right to defend and assert her desire for a separation, the Courts usually awarded rights, property and children to the husband and it was with this in mind Annabella's legal team were preparing depositions in support of her claim...

Cheers! I Could Murder a Drink!

When Lady Byron left London and her husband in January 1816 she was to send him the following note: Dearest B., We arrived here safely - the child is the best of travellers. Now do leave off the abominable trade of versifying, and brandy, everything that is nau - - Byron was always the first to admit with brutal honesty that he …

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Like Seaham Hall? Vastly!

In the early days of March 1815, Byron was preparing to take his leave of Seaham Hall which had provided the backdrop to his fated marriage on a cold January morning some weeks earlier. On the outskirts of a small fishing village and perched on a grassy hill that that overlooks the wild and windy north east coast and far away from the glamour of the ‘Melbourne Court’ in London, the ‘pretty Spot’ of Seaham Hall was the family home of Ralph and Judith Milbanke. Although Annabella had been born at Elemore Hall in May 1792 as the completion of Seaham Hall was still underway, Annabella would spend her happy childhood years of bathing in the sea, clamouring across the rocks, dreaming up stories of dragons and shipwrecks while running across the sands and where she would live in peaceful anonymity until January 1815 and from then on her life would never be the same again...

The Baptism of a Rake?

'March 1st, George Gordon, son, of John Byron Esq. & Catherine...' The date was entered in error as the clerk had obviously forgotten that 1788 was a Leap Year...."Save February, with twenty-eight days clear, And twenty-nine each leap year." This would prove to be the first and one of many errors written about the life of Byron and not only during his lifetime! Another visitor to St Marylebone Parish Church was the artist William Hogarth who used the interior of the church for inspiration for his 1735 painting for the series titled 'A Rake's Progress'...

A Bad Romance? I WANT Revenge!

While listening to the radio on this Valentine's Day, the song Bad Romance by Lady GaGa has been on the play list AND more than once! I want your love And I want your revenge You and me could write a bad romance I want your love and All your love is revenge You and me could …

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A Devil of a Birthday Boy!

Throughout his short life and in the years that have followed Byron was always considered to be a wonderful mass of contradictions and one with peculiar regularity can still arouse fury, passion, loyalty and debate; however, Byron would only think of himself as le diable boiteux - the lame devil. He was born on this day in 1788 with a malformation of his right leg and foot which he believed to be the worst catastrophe of his entire life and as Byron still remains a figure of intrigue, it is perhaps not altogether surprising that the nature of his deformed limb should also provoke controversy!

It’s Looking Sticky for the Arctic Monkeys AND Lord B!

One of my favourite songs is by the Arctic Monkeys called 'Black Treacle'... 'Now it's getting dark and the sky looks sticky More like black treacle than tar Black treacle' Ah, ah! I know what you are thinking! Black treacle and Lord Byron?

The Birth of Boy George

Despite Byron's enduring fame, the circumstances of his birth were far from auspicious for he was born on Tuesday January 22 1788 in a rented apartment on the first floor above a shop in Holles Street in Cavendish Square London to Catherine Gordon Byron, who as a lone young mother had no family nearby for emotional and financial support....

Persistence FINALLY Pays!

If you still persist in your intention of meeting me in opposition to the wishes of your own friends & of mine - it must be even so - I regret it & acquiesce with reluctance... It was on a chilly November day that persistence finally paid off for the Polite Tourist as she made …

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A Leap Day Baptism of Light…

I baptise thee George Gordon Byron in the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost. Amen So said the Priest of St Marylebone Parish Church, London on this very day February 29 in the year 1788. Today, as we celebrate another Leap Day some 228 years later, the Polite …

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