A Rage Against the Machine…

Today, February 27 was the day that my mother was delivered of me some years ago and a few years before that, Lord Byron delivered his maiden speech in the House of Lords. Yes, indeed on this very day some 207 years ago, our poet spoke out in 'A Rage Against the Machine' as he identified with the Luddite cause and claiming to be as penniless as those he supported, he sought the support of Lord Holland as the leader of the Whigs to address the House and to voice his opposition to the introduction of the death penalty...

Dearest Duck, It’s Over! Love Pippin…

Even though we are now only in the second day of February, there is already an abundance of red hearts of all sizes adorning the windows of the local shops and restaurants and there are even Edible Love Hearts on offer as a Valentine's Day treat for our local pooches! Yes, February is the month for a profusion of chocolates, expensive red roses and some very dubious Valentine's cards but oh, what a month of anticipation as Cupid's Arrow flies forth! However, sadly not for our poet as February 1816 would be the month that his wife Lady Byron, the former Annabella Milbanke would ditch him!

The Tale of a Byronic Enfant Terrible!

On Tuesday February 1 1814, two very significant events occurred with the first being the lethal eruption of the volcano Mount Mayon in the Philippines which was to belch lava and dark ash upwards of thirty feet that would bury one town and kill over two thousand people.   The second significant event to occur on that day was the publication of Byron's The Corsair which sold 10,000 copies on the day of publication and a "thing perfectly unprecedented" according to His Lordship's proud and increasingly successful publisher, John Murray...

Behold the Blessings of Lady Noel – Damn!

In the summer of 1821 in a letter to his sister, Augusta Leigh, as Byron was was lamenting the failure of his drama about Marino Faliero, the controversial Doge of Venice who had been executed in 1355, he was also less than sympathetic to the news that his mother-in-law had recovered from an illness. As we know, no one lives forever and the Lady Noel was no exception for a mere seven months after Lord B's most facetious letter; his Mamma-At-Law died on Monday January 28 in 1822...

That Wicked Lord B! What Do YOU Know?

The Fifth Baron Byron was NOT the grandfather of our poet as purported by Alexander Larman in his sloppily researched tome Byron's Women which was published to enormous fanfare in 2016 but rather THE great-uncle and it was upon his demise that Byron became a Lord and inherited land and titles which included the glorious ancestral abode of Newstead Abbey in Nottinghamshire. William Byron had inherited his title of the 'Wicked Lord' for a life that had included the illegal selling of family estates and ruining what little was left in revenge against his only son and heir William who having decided on his own love match and in true Byron style promptly married his cousin!

A Cup of Kindness Yet?

January 25 is the celebration of Burns Night and having enjoyed a fabulous supper of Haggis - I had to refuse the 'wee dram' of fine Scotch whiskey on offer. However, had I done so, I could have raised a glass in honour of the character in this post - Lady Caroline Lamb who died on this day in 1828 at the age of forty two AND it's probably fair to say that even with the passage of time, opinion remains as divided about her in death, as it was in life!

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!

A Melancholy, ‘Honeft Man’…

Byron was noted for his open manner and of his tendency to admit his feelings of despondency, sorrow or his word of choice - melancholy. For his poetry is noted for it, his private journals speak of it and he was often candid about his "constitutional depression of Spirits" in letters to his friends. Although the study of genetics was unknown in Byron's time, he always believed that he was 'doomed' by the fact that he was a in the words of his mother a "true Byrrone" Despite his charm, his father was considered a fickle profligate and adulterer and with an irate temper, extreme moods and bouts of depression; Byron's mother Catherine Gordon was more than a match for 'Mad Jack' as he was known throughout society. In the light of his parents' temperaments and that death by suicide is hinted at on ALL sides of Byron's unique family; it is perhaps NOT surprising that Byron was frequently one unhappy chap...

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...

Bravo! Artful BUT Perfectly Incompatible!

On any given day if you were to go in search of me and in discovering that my workshop was closed; you would probably find me at home in my 'Den' surrounded by piles of books reading yet another book about Byron or scribbling in my research book and always with the radio playing! Unlike Byron who professed to Lady …

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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 …

Continue reading Cheers! I Could Murder a Drink!