At Home with the Doyenne of All Things Lord Byron

Tee Bylo loves Regency history as a well as creating life in 12th scale and has combined the two with her creation of the ‘Ghost of Piccadilly’ inspired by Lord Byron’s address at 13 Piccadilly Terrace in London in the year 1815 and where the Poet lived with his wife the former Annabella Milbanke who he had married only two months previously on a bitterly cold January day and on an equally cold day in December, their only daughter Augusta Ada Lovelace was born.

The house is complete with a basement kitchen and attic rooms reflecting the architecture, interior design, furniture and the lifestyle of Byron and that of his circle and comments made in letters to and from the Poet have given Tee a fabulous understanding into his life at Piccadilly Terrace; an atmosphere she has now sought to recreate in miniature.

As an enthusiastic blogger, Tee has shared her progress of life inside No 13 allowing her passion for Lord Byron to reach other fans of the Poet as well as those who enjoy the miniature art form and here are just some of the many questions that Tee has been asked!

What’s the Story Behind the Creation of 13 Piccadilly Terrace?
The idea for the creation of 13 Piccadilly Terrace began in the summer of 2009 after watching and more than once, the BBC adaptation of Byron featuring the delightful Jonny Lee Miller as His Lordship and the idea for the Ghost of Piccadilly was inspired by Byron’s life at this London address during that eventful year of 1815.

Is 13 Piccadilly Terrace a ‘Real’ Model?
Yes, it is a ‘real’ model’ which has been created in 12th scale primarily with the use of MDF, plaster, strip wood, paints, mountboard and of course with plenty of glue and lots of imagination!

Although No 13 began life as a Sid Cooke kit comprising of simple pieces of MDF and Plywood, the original design has been ‘tweaked’ with false walls and side windows – the creation of which has been entirely my work.

And How Large is 13 Piccadilly Terrace?
The house measures 70cm in width and 132m in height with a depth of 64cm and has 13 rooms – which is rather appropriate for this particular model!

Was the Design Process of 13 Piccadilly Terrace a Dream to Create or a Nightmare?
The journey from bare wood to the creation of an atmospheric grand house was a challenge!

As was choosing the interior design with the appropriate colour scheme, the elaborate woodwork and the plastered ceiling decoration for the dining room, ALL of which resulted in more than a few headaches AND sleepless nights!

However, the basement kitchen WAS a dream to create!
With inspiration drawn from the Georgian kitchen at Fairfax House in York, the effect was realised with the use of a piece of foam board, a pot of plaster filler, a cheap vinyl floor tile and some bought pieces for the fireplace from an independent dolls’ house supplier.

​​And Your Plans for 13 Piccadilly Terrace?
As No 13 remains a work in progress, there’s plenty to keep me occupied as there are still beds to be made, the family portraits to hang, a wedding to arrange AND an elaborate supper for the Twelfth Night to serve up.

I am also hopeful that an exquisite gilt chair in the style of Louis XV and upholstered in the most delightful fabric may FINALLY find its way to the drawing room!

How Can I Follow the Stories About Lord Byron’s House?
As well as sharing the stories from Piccadilly Terrace on the website, you can also follow the news from Number 13 on InstagramFlickrTwitterFacebook and Google+

And you can now join me as I party like it’s 1815 from Lord B’s Abode on this blog.

Tell Me the Attraction of Lord Byron?
It was Byron himself who once described himself as ‘Being the fashion; it’s absurd but I can’t help it’ and the attraction of this handsome, unconventional poet who was also a talented and very witty man of letters is just one explanation of his timeless appeal.

He was arguably the first celebrity of our age with a fascinating personality of irreverence, humour, controversy and political idealism and as such he remains just a potent today as he did over 200 years ago as he cut a swathe through London society.

How Can I Learn More About Your Work?
You can discover more about my work on the official website Tee Bylo or on my blog Creating Life in 12th Scale… and you can also support me and my work on the crowdfunding site Patreon.

I can also be found on the usual social media platforms including FacebookInstagramFlickr and Twitter.

Can I Share the Information and the Images from the Ghost of Piccadilly on My Website or Blog?
Of course! However, all I ask is that you will remember to fully and accurately credit me and my work. Thank you!

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The Price is Right? The Doors to Lord Byron’s Abode Open…

As Byron was languishing inside the comfortable environs of 13 Piccadilly Terrace on a warm June over two hundred years ago, he was firing off the above epistle to his literary pal and champion of liberal thought, Leigh Hunt.

We came to town what is called late in the season – & since that time – the death of Lady Byron’s uncle (in the first place) and her own delicate state of health have prevented either of us from going out much…


From Moore I have not heard very lately – I fear he is a little humourous because I am a lazy correspondent – but that shall be mended.

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And despite their friendship of many years standing and of Hunt’s loyalty to the poet during the fall-out that would surround the sensational end of his marriage less than a year later, Byron was to write scathingly of Hunt in 1818:

He is a good man, with some poetical elements in his chaos; but spoilt by the Christ-Church Hospital and a Sunday newspaper, – to say nothing of the Surry Jail, which conceited him into a martyr…

However, as the doors to my 13 Piccadilly Terrace have been closed for some time now, I too plead guilty to the charge of being a ‘lazy correspondent’ and although my state of health is far from delicate unlike that of Byron’s pregnant spouse; I have found myself centre stage in a series of unfortunate events since the spring, that have kept me from darkening the doors of my Piccadilly Terrace.

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And although a generous helping of ‘chaos’ has certainly abounded as of late, I remain very far from assuming the mantle of martyrdom, unlike the maligned Leigh Hunt!

However, after reading about the proposed development of 139 Piccadilly which stands near Hyde Park Corner, the parts of which were once 13 Piccadilly Terrace; I was intrigued and upon discovering that the plans allow for the creation of a mansion that will include magnificent rooms, a swimming pool and a roof terrace; I was more than a little envious!

It was once the London home of Lord Byron, the grand mansion where the dissolute poet wrote some of his most famous works and where his short-lived marriage came to an end.

The 20th century saw this elegant Georgian building converted into office space, its proud history buried beneath modern fixtures and drab commercial fittings.

But now No. 139 Piccadilly is to be restored to its former glory as a single residence, by two of London’s wealthiest property investors.

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David and Simon Reuben have been given planning permission by Westminster Council to convert the building into an eight-bedroom mansion with swimming pool, sauna and staff quarters, worth an estimated £45 million.

The developers say the restored building – which is likely to be snapped up by a wealthy foreign buyer attracted by its prime location close to Green Park and Buckingham Palace – will be almost 20 times bigger than the average British home.

Patrick Sawer The Telegraph

A price tag of £45 million for an abode that Byron once ambled through, albeit not very happily? Priceless!

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Adieu for now…

Tee

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 Annabella Milbanke….

There’s No Sense of Past Agony as Tee Takes a Stroll Along Piccadilly… 

Sources Used:

Wedlock’s the Devil Byron’s Letters and Journals Volume 4 Ed: Leslie A. Marchand (London: John Murray 1975)

The Trouble of an Index Byron’s Letters and Journals Volume 12 Ed: Leslie A. Marchand (London: John Murray 1982)

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 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 Annabella Milbanke and the inspiration for the creation of Byron’s abode, albeit in 12th scale!

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…

Tee

Happiest when Alone! Lord Byron Yearns for Some Peaceful Confusion…

As we have now left Lady Byron to enjoy a peaceful repast in the Dining Room here at 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!

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“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…

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I shall bid you a fond adieu for now!

Tee

Sources used:

Byron’s Letters and Jounals Vol 3 1813-1814 Ed Leslie A. Marchand (London: John Murray 1974)

Leaving Lady B to Dine in Peace!

There is something to me very softening in the presence of a woman, – some strange influence, even if one is not in love with them, – which I cannot at all account for, having no very opinion of the sex.

But yet, – I always feel in better humour with myself and every thing else, if there is a woman within ken.

Lord Byron

And there is certainly a ‘woman within ken’ in the Dining Room of 13 Piccadilly Terrace for the walls that I have painted in a distemper inspired by the colour of ‘Wedgewood Blue’ are now adorned with several female likenesses that feature the like of Lady Melbourne and Georgiana Duchess of Devonshire.

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For with this feminine presence dominating the Dining Room of 13 Piccadilly Terrace and with Byron’s ambivalent attitude towards food well documented in that he would frequently go for days without eating a substantial meal preferring a diet of “hard biscuits and Soda water”; I have created this particular room to be as ‘unByronic’ as is possible and which may offer some explanation for the portrait of B’s ‘infernal fiend’ that now hangs there.

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‘A Portrait of Annabella Milbanke by Hoppner in 1802’

For it was during the course of his brief residence within the martial home of 13 Piccadilly Terrace, he would on more than one occasion refuse to share the dining table with his bride.

… once when his dinner was accidentally served at the same table with mine, he desired his dish to be taken into another room (in my presence, & the servants attending) with an expression of rage…

Lady Byron

As the dietary strictures employed by Lord B were not shared by his wife for having made no secret of her enjoyment of food, my hope is that this wonderfully poignant image of this solemn yet graceful little girl can continue to adorn the walls of this dining room in peace!

Bye for now!

Sources Used:

‘The Trouble of an Index’ Byron’s Letters and Journals Volume 13 Ed: Leslie A. Marchand (London: John Murray 1982)

Lord Byron’s Wife Malcolm Elwin (London: John Murray 1962)

The Dominating Presence of the Indomitable Lady Melbourne!

Despite the headaches I endured during the creation of the Dining Room at 13 Piccadilly Terrace, this room remains one my favourites which was inspired by in part by the beautifully intricate ceiling that dominates the Drawing Room at Fairfax House in York in addition to the letters of Lady Melbourne who was lauded for the exquisite interior design that she employed during the renovation of the Albany in Piccadilly that was completed in the autumn of 1774.

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As the formidable Lady Melbourne was to prove a commanding presence within the graceful salons of Georgian society with her intimate friends Georgiana Duchess of Devonshire and the fashionable sculptor Anne Seymour Damer; she also has the privilege of dominating the walls of this room in several of the portraits that I have placed there.

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Has Lady Greenwich told you of the Duchess of Devonshire, Lady Melburn, and Mrs. Damer all being drawn in one picture in the Characters of the three Witches in Macbeth?

They have chosen that Scene where they compose their Cauldron, but instead of “finger of Birth-strangled babe, etc.” their Cauldron is composed of roses and carnations and I daresay they think their Charmes more irresistible than all the magick of the Witches.

Lady Mary Coke

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‘The Three Witches from Macbeth by Daniel Gardner in 1775’

However, you may yet wonder why I have placed the childhood portrait of Annabella Milbanke as she was painted by Hoppner at ten years old for as ‘Lady Melburn’s’ niece and the future Lady Byron, she would in later years come to realise the truth of Lady M’s ‘Hubble, Bubble, Toil and Trouble’.

That however, is for another story!

Bye for now!

Lady M Sketches the Character of Lord Byron’s House…

I enclose you a very rough Sketch of the rooms on ye ground floor in yr House merely to shew you how ye rooms are disposed, as you may then consider in what way it will be most convenient for you to live in them – I have mark’d them as they are at present…

The Duchess’s Sitting room is furnish’d with low Bookcases Tables Couches & Great Chairs – in profusion…

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The Drawing Room of 13 Piccadilly Terrace…

… but certainly the Rooms up stairs, have only common useful furniture in them – The offices excepting the Kitchen are small – but will do very well & are very comfortable – for all ye Servants belonging to Dev House, are <used> to take care of themselves – 

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I suppose you or Ld B employ some Upholsterer & in that case – he had better look over the things left in ye House & see they are all there according to ye Inventory which the Auctioneer will give him…

– If you know of no particular person I will employ ours so let me know…

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The Portrait of Lady Melbourne in the Dining Room of 13 Piccadilly Terrace…

I forgot to mention yt all ye rooms are very light & pleasant excepting No 4 which being <cornered> so far back is darken’d by some buildings –

Lady Melbourne (Sunday March 12 1815)

Sources Used:

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