‘Dearest Annabella I Have Just Taken the Duchess of Devonshire’s House’… The Letters of Lady Melbourne

Dst Annabella 

I have just taken the Dss of Devonshire’s House from next Sunday the 12th for one Year at 700£ – as Ld B wants Space I hope it will suit him – but after that, I am in rather a fright at what I have done – but all I can say, is, that I have not done it hastily…

for at first I would not take it – & have this morning been with all ye great House brokers – & on seeing what they ask for very indifferent Houses & how few are to be let furnish’d I went back to this, & concluded the bargain – 

The great dispute between the Man who has the letting of it & myself was yt he would only let it till Christmas & I would have the Year – 

Now for an Acc of the House first perhaps you are not aware that the entrance is down Some Steps, which makes what is commonly call’d the Ground floor but the rooms are extremely pleasant, the Dss lived entirely on this floor…

the-entrance-hall-of-13-piccadilly-terrace-circa-1815-lord-byrons-abode
The Entrance Hallway of 13 Piccadilly Terrace…

… she had a Dining room, Sitting room, & Bedchamber & a fourth room of a good Size but which she made her Maids Room – … these are well furnish’d not Splendidly but comfortably with Good Couches & large Chairs & Drugget over all the rooms in the House..

the-dining-room-with-family-portraits-of-13-piccadilly-terrace-circa-1815-lord-byrons-abode
The Dining Room of 13 Piccadilly Terrace…

Over these rooms there are the same Number but theses are only furnish’d with common furniture, as Mr Foster lived in them, – if you should take these for Yourself you will be obliged to move the Dss’s furniture up Stairs – & I think you must have Some additions – which you may hire at some Upholsterers…

 Lady Melbourne (Tuesday March 7 1815)

Sources Used:

Byron’s “Corbeau Blanc” The Life and Letters of Lady Melbourne Ed: Jonathan David Gross (Liverpool University Press 1998)

 

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'Of All Romances in Miniature... Perhaps this is the Best Shape in which Romance Can Appear.' ~ Lord Byron

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