A Delightful Situation! Lady Byron’s Determined Confidante…

I determined to run ye risk of taking ye Dss’s where ye furniture is all clean & ye Beds quite good & the Situation delightfull – she pays 800 pr Anm & the Taxes but she wishes to have a House to go into if she should return to England next Yr & therefore decided to let it for less & be at some loss – rather than have to look for a House…

hallway-a-candle-sconce-13-piccadilly-terrace-circa-1815
A Candle Sconce in the Hallway of 13 Piccadilly Terrace…

You may come to this next Week if You please – There is a Housemaid there who has a room where all the Dss’s things which she left are put up – Of course whether you keep her on or not she may I have no doubt keep the Key of this room – as there are plenty &, it will be no inconvenience to you to have it lock’d up…

the-hallway-on-the-piano-nobile-of-13-piccadilly-terrace-circa-1815-lord-byrons-abode
The Hallway on the Piano Nobile at 13 Piccadilly Terrace…

The Offices are very good – & all sorts of useful things will be found in the House in plenty -the Bell is going – & I am in ye greatest hurry…

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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‘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)

 

A Romance in Miniature…

Fletcher, after having been toasted and roasted, and baked and grilled, and eaten by all sorts of creeping things begins to philosophise, is grown a refined as well as a resigned character, and promises at his return to become an ornament to his own parish, and a very prominent person in the future family pedigree of the Fletchers who I take to be Goths by their accomplishments, Greeks by their acuteness, and ancient Saxons by their appetite…

These are the words of Byron written in a letter to his mother Catherine in the summer of 1810 as he continued to enjoy his Grand Tour accompanied by the faithful and “learned” William Fletcher, his Valet and the recipient of kindness, extensive travel and the frequent butt of jokes.

Fast forward from that balmy July over two hundred years later to our present day and to the creation of my Byron-inspired Miniature Regency House.

I have now completed the rooms that can be found nestled away in the garrets that are suitable for a miniature William Fletcher.

the-servants-quarters-of-13-piccadilly-terrace-circa-1815-lord-byrons-abode
The Garrets of 13 Piccadilly Terrace…

And if we travel through the Hallway, a bedroom for Fletcher awaits and as Byron was to write of Fletcher’s “perpetual lamentations after beef and beer”…  I shall oblige him!

garret-william-fletchers-bedroom-13-piccadilly-terrace-circa-1815

We can also peek through the pine door to another bedroom… but for whom?

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When Byron married Annabella Milbanke in January 1815, she was accompanied by her Maid Ann Rood and as the Byron marriage disintegrated, the romance between the “Learned Fletcher” and “Roody” blossomed.

“The parcel came & contained also a billet from Roody to my Valet – from which I infer that she is better in one sense & worse in another…”

They were married in early 1816 and sadly were not to enjoy marital bliss for long as Fletcher was to accompany his Master to Europe in April and Ann was to continue in the service of her Mistress.

How very sweet! A real romance in miniature!

Byron was certainly enthusiastic about this concept as he was to note in his Ravenna Journal in 1821: “Of all romances in miniature (and perhaps this is the best shape in which Romance can appear)…

Adieu for now!

Sources Used:

Byron’s Letters and Journals Vol 2 1810-1812 Ed. Leslie A. Marchand (London: John Murray 1974)

Byron’s Letters and Journals Vol 4 1814-1815 Ed. Leslie A. Marchand (London: John Murray 1975)

Byron’s Letters and Journals Vol 8 1821 Ed. Leslie A. Marchand (London: John Murray 1978)