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...

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 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...

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?