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

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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…

drawing-room-a-lace-shawl-awaits-13-piccadilly-terrace-circa-1815
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 – 

kitchen-a-supper-of-soup-13-piccadilly-terrace-circa-1815

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…

the-portrait-of-lady-melbourne-at-13-piccadilly-terrace-circa-1815-lord-byrons-abode
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)

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)

Making the Bed! The Letters of Byron’s ‘Ma Tante’…

The Atticks & Garrets are perfectly well furnish’d – in all there are Sixteen Beds in the house extremely good & Clean but no one very large…

the-valets-bedroom-of-13-piccadilly-terrace-circa-1815-lord-byrons-abode

the-servants-quarters-of-anne-rood-of-13-piccadilly-terrace-circa-1815-lord-byrons-abode

I think You might continue for 3 or 4 days to live in the Dss’s rooms as she inhabited them, as the rooms have all Separate communications – & as there are two bedchambers close together You could do very well for that time & then Settle how the rooms Upstairs Should be arranged…

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)

‘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)