Wednesday, 3 December 2014

There's No Sense of Past Agony as Tee Takes 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 month 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 Annabella Milbanke.

The fact that Byron apparently descended into a brandy induced breakdown after the arrival of the two unwanted house guests for an extended visit probably did little to help restore the stormy waters of marital harmony.

The first house guest was Byron’s ‘Dearest Guss’, the Hon. Augusta Leigh and the other who arrived a little later was a Bailiff who presumably received a far less affectionate term of endearment!

Although the idea of 13 Piccadilly Terrace has long since captured my imagination; it is believed that the house has been rebuilt over the intervening years and is now a part of 139 Piccadilly which can easily be spotted after crossing over Old Park Lane and before you arrive at Hyde Park Corner.

Walked early to look at my old house in Piccadilly – saw into the room where I have sat with him, and felt as I had lived there with a friend who was long since dead to me...

No sense of past agony – all mournfully soft. My thoughts floated peacefully into other channels as soon as I had left the spot…

Lady Byron
Sunday September 17 1820

'Mournfully soft', I love the juxtaposition of these words used by Annabella as she too had stood outside this building and mused about her relationship with her impossibly enigmatic and brilliant spouse...

No sense of past agony? Oh, how I wish these walls could talk!

Bye for now...

*Links of Interest*

Sources Used:
The Life and Letters of Anne Isabella, Lady Noel Byron Ethel Colburn Mayne (London: Constable & Co Ltd 1929)
Wedlock's the Devil Byron's Letters and Journals Volume 4 (1814-1815) Ed: Leslie A. Marchand (London: John Murray 1975)

Sunday, 21 September 2014

Shrink Me! A Miniaturist Visits Fairfax House in York...

Several days ago as my home town was in the throes of enjoying a beautiful Indian summer, I was delighted to meet up with fellow Byronian Dianna Rostrad for an afternoon of sightseeing in York and an enjoyable lunch at the Black Swan; a 15th century hostelry noted for delicious food and the occasional haunting by an assortment of ghosts that have made themselves at home within the cosy confines of this medieval inn over the last five hundred years.

As Dianna and I have traded lively messages back and forth through the discussion board of my ‘Lord Byron Appreciation Group’ on Facebook for some time now; we had plenty to chat about as we shared thoughts about his Lordship’s various romantic paramours, proven or otherwise!

Dianna had very kindly bought me a signed copy of The Miniaturist by Jessie Burton and our chatter naturally ran to my creation of Lord B’s abode and as Fairfax House in York has long been my inspirational ‘mood board’ for the design of 13 Piccadilly Terrace in the year 1815; my suggestion to pay a visit to this fabulous Georgian residence was met with enthusiasm by my companion despite the fact that we had been pounding the cobbled streets of York on foot for some hours now.

On our approach to the graceful entrance to Fairfax House perched in the shadow of Clifford’s Tower since 1760, purchased by the Viscount Fairfax of Gilling Castle as a dowry for Anne his only surviving child; I remarked to Dianna that this was one wedding gift I would have been more than happy to receive!

Guide book in hand, my fourth copy but who’s counting; we strolled through the exquisitely appointed rooms, stroking the occasional piece of chinoiserie furniture in admiration, listening to the ticking of the wonderful longcase clocks and musing over the identity of the wife of the Earl of Carlisle whose portrait on loan from Castle Howard now dominates an entire wall of the dining room.

With the stern lady adorned in forest green silk gazing down upon us; Byron soon returned as the topic of conversation as we discussed his relationship with his much lampooned guardian, the unfortunate Fredrick Howard, 5th Earl of Carlisle, much to the surprise of the friendly tour guide who was following our observations with surprised interest!

As we made our way to the kitchen, I did enjoy a final wistful glance of the dining room with its elaborate stucco ceiling for the recreation of one for Lord B’s abode had resulted in much heartbreak and insomnia during one painful month from inception to completion, the tales of which can be found at the end of my post. 

However, as we entered the kitchen, I had the strangest sense of déjà vu and as I looked around at the familiar sight of the huge fire with spit roast and bread oven, I felt as if I had shrunk and had wandered into the basement kitchen of Lord B’s abode, albeit in 12th scale!

The Kitchen of Fairfax House in York and the Basement Kitchen of 13 Piccadilly Terrace in the Year 1815... Somewhere in  a Small World!

It was only as I looked at the elaborate dishes of sumptuous and mouth-watering cuisine on the kitchen table that reality finally intruded with the realisation that the former inhabitants of this abode were arguably more fortunate than the imaginary inhabitants of my abode who unfortunately still remain on the brink of starvation!

Hopefully, the plans that I am making for the celebration of a Regency Christmas at 13 Piccadilly Terrace will offer a soothing balm to any past grievances.

Bye for now!

Follow the link to enjoy a ‘virtual’ tour of Fairfax House in York that inspired the creation of 13 Piccadilly Terrace in the year 1815.

Saturday, 2 August 2014

Tee Bylo Makes Plans for Lord Byron's 'Other' Abode...

It is no secret that I am a passionate devotee of the history of Lord Byron as well as an artisan who creates 'Small Worlds' in 12th scale and it was perhaps only a matter of time before I would create another 'Small World' inspired by Newstead Abbey, Byron's splendid ancestral abode that is nestled with Sherwood Forest in the county of Nottinghamshire.

Now, to be fair, I did try to talk myself out of this challenge as my diary for last September demonstrates...

"Good Morning! I find myself in a quandary as I muse over the possible purchase of a Gothic Castle to add to my property empire..."

However, I was to meet with fierce resistance on a certain social networking site that will remain nameless...

"Don't muse, do it!"
"Love castles, just do it and share"
"Yes, buy it"
"What quandary? Buy, buy!"

So with the 'Mission Accomplished' and the said purchase made, I am sharing my grand plan for the creation of Newstead Abbey in Miniature which after a spot of preliminary research could well turn out to be 'Mission Impossible'...

However, in my head at least, Newstead Abbey in Miniature will be a 12th scale stone Castle complete with the romantic turrets and lashings of the Gothic that will reflect the architecture, interior design and furniture of the contemporary Newstead Abbey that greets the visitor today.

 However unlike a visit to Newstead Abbey, my Newstead Abbey in Miniature will be not be subject to the savage cuts imposed by Nottingham City Council that have resulted in limited guided tours, staff redundancies and the theft of the priceless lead piping!

Sunday April 19 2015 will see the unveiling of the exterior of Newstead Abbey in Miniature on the 191st year of Byron's death.

However, which room I reveal first will be the decision of you, the reader!

To choose the room that you would like me to make first, simply cast your vote in my unique poll which you can find on my blog below:

The 'Small' Tales of Newstead Abbey!
The Creation of Lord Byron's Abbey in Miniature...

Although my plans for the creation of Newstead Abbey in Miniature have only begun this month in earnest, I have been rather busy with research and the 'stockpiling' of materials, fabrics, pictures and (the fun bit!) the choosing of the Newstead Abbey inspired miniatures!

And so as my Newstead Abbey in Miniature develops, I shall share with you the unfolding tale, the triumphs and the tears!

Bye for now!

As I am planning a "fact finding" visit to Newstead Abbey later this summer, I intend to make a careful study of the rooms and in the process am likely to exhaust my small camera and may yet find my sanity under question as to the undertaking of this project!

However, if pessimism should set in at least I know that the Newstead Abbey Shop sells a rather delicious chocolate bar!

Saturday, 19 April 2014

Death in a Deplorable Room. Lord Byron is No More...

Monday April 19 1824...
Missolonghi, Greece

His habitation was weather-tight but that was nearly all the comfort his deplorable room afforded him.
He was my protector and benefactor, and I could not see him, whom I knew to have been so differently brought up, thus perishing, far from his home, far from all the comforts due to his rank and situation...

The pestilent sirocco was blowing a hurricane, and the rain was falling with almost tropical violence...

On the 16th he was alarmingly ill, and almost constantly delirious.

I earnestly implored the doctors not to physic and bleed him, and to keep his extremities warm, for in them was already the coldness of coming death...

On the 17th he appeared much worse than the day before; notwithstanding this, he was again bled twice, and both times fainted.
His debility was excessive.

This was Easter Day...
I saw him a short time indeed, in the morning, and then he was very delirious, and alarmingly ill.

Dr. Treiber, a German, had warmly condemned the mode in which Lord Byron had been treated. It was by his recommendation and advice, I believe, that it was now resolved to administer bark, and I was sent for to persuade Lord Byron to take it.

He was able to swallow only a very small quantity, about four mouthfuls I think.
With the assistance of Tita, I endeavoured gently to create a little warmth in them; and I also loosened the bandages which were tied around his head.
Till this was done he seemed in great pain...

He bore the loosening of the band passively; and after it was loosened, he shed tears...
His eyes continued open only a short time, and then, about six o'clock in the evening of the 18th, he sank into a slumber, or rather I should say a stupor, and woke and knew no more.

On Monday, April 19th, at six o'clock in the evening Lord Byron was dead.

"Give Greece arms and independence, and then learning; I am here to serve her, but I will serve her first with my steel, and afterwards with her pen"

Lord Byron
(1788 - 1824)

"The Death of Byron April 19 1824"
(Displayed April 19 2012)
8 x 10 x 8

"Theatre of Insolence"
10 x 9 x 11

Sources Used:
The Last Days of Lord Byron William Parry (BiblioBazaar 2011)

Tuesday, 28 January 2014

Happiest when Alone! Lord B Yearns for Some Peaceful Confusion...

As we have now left Lady Byron to enjoy a peaceful repast in the Dining Room of 13 Piccadilly Terrace, it's now time to pay a fugitive visit to His Lordship's Library which is situated on the Piano Nobile.

You may wonder at my use of the the word 'fugitive' but when you read on, all will hopefully be explained!

"I do not know that I am happiest when alone; but this I am sure of that I never am long in the society even of her I love, (God knows too well, and the Devil probably too,) without a yearning for the company of my lamp and my utterly confused and tumbled-over library.."
Lord Byron 
(April 1814)

Given what we have learnt about Byron's quick temper with his fondness for solitude and with a pistol within easy reach...

I shall bid you a fond adieu for now!
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