I have just been at the House, to tell ye Servants that your Housemaid was on her way – & to prevent her being refused admission.
I have also been at the House Brokers, & as Ld B will be in Town so Soon he thinks some sort of Agreement may then be drawn up, for ye time he has taken in/so there is no necessity for your sending such a direction to any Upholsterer, as the maid you send will probably be competent to look over ye Inventory & take charge of ye things…
… there is no Linnen to go with the House, nor Glasses nor Knives & forks, Spoons &c
The only things left, are the Kitchen Utensils of all Sorts – Pewter for ye Servants – & some White Wedgwood plates & Dishes & crockery ware for all ye rooms…
You will therefore most probably give yr Servt directions about any things you may want and if I can be of any use, employ me sans ceremonie…
Lady Melbourne (Saturday March 11 1815)
Byron’s “Corbeau Blanc” The Life and Letters of Lady Melbourne Ed: Jonathan David Gross (Liverpool University Press 1998)
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…
… 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..
… 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)
Byron’s “Corbeau Blanc” The Life and Letters of Lady Melbourne Ed: Jonathan David Gross (Liverpool University Press 1998
For I am delighted to announce that the windows of 13 Piccadilly Terrace are now finally dressed!
Several weeks ago as I was counting down the days to the photo shoot for publication in the February issue of the Dolls’ House Magazine as well as musing about my plans for the celebration of a ‘Christmas Past’ and a recreation of that infamous betrothal between Lord B and Annabella Milbanke and with the promise of another exciting possibility or two; I finally set off on the ‘Road Less Traveled’ as it were.
Yes, I finally found my way to the storage cupboard to locate the box labelled ‘Soft Furnishings for Lord B’s House’ that had been patiently waiting for me and was now covered in a respectable layer of dust.
With a faded instruction sheet in hand and surrounded by a pile of sumptuous silks and an assortment of other essential needlework paraphernalia and while under the watchful eye of a small ball of fluff that now answers to the name of ‘Murphy’; I finally created a pair of curtains and finished them off with the obligatory signature of the Regency – the elaborate swag!
The name of the lavish silk used to dress the windows of the Drawing Room at 13 Piccadilly Terrace is called ‘Blood Red’ which is rather appropriate considering that my fingers will bear the scars of that particular day’s work for some time to come!
And on the day following, I even managed to create some more swags and drapes for the dining room and with no band aid required!
I will happily admit that I could not have accomplished the task of dressing these windows had it not been for a well-read copy of Curtains by Sue Heaser who promises the reader that her book will learn ‘just how easy it can be to make quality projects… when expert guidance is at hand’ and how right she was!
Although, I wouldn’t quite agree with her assertion that ‘miniature sewing is a delightful hobby’!
Of all romances in miniature… perhaps this is the best shape in which Romance can appear..’ so said the fabulous Lord Byron in one of his many journal scribblings and as artist AND a passionate devotee of Regency History who loves to create a scene and not only of the hysterical kind; it is perhaps only to be expected that I would create a Regency inspired miniature!
In 2009, I began the creation of 13 Piccadilly Terrace which is a Regency House complete with a basement kitchen and the attic rooms reflecting the architecture, interior design, furniture and life-style of the Regency and which has been inspired by the poet Lord Byron and his circle as he lived at 13 Piccadilly Terrace in the year 1815.
Although my idea for the design of 13 Piccadilly Terrace began several years ago, I remain busy with the research and the hoarding of materials, fabrics, pictures with the buying of lots of delightful Regency miniatures; which I might add, is always the fun part!
And although I am proud of my painting techniques, woodworking skills and electrifying abilities; I am aware of my limitations which include a horror of dressmaking and sewing.
However, one of my many grand plans for this 12th scale abode is the creation of the unique ‘Byron Screen’ for the library and which was decorated to reflect his love of theatre and pugilism and used in his apartment at the Albany until it was bought at auction in April 1816 by his publisher John Murray.
After extensive restoration work, the present John Murray has kindly loaned the Byron Screen for display in Byron’s Library at Newstead Abbey; which I was delighted to see on my visit there last January.
And another of my many grand plans for this 12th scale abode is to arrange a wedding in the ‘Family Room’ that is situated on the piano nobile and with inspiration drawn from the Byron betrothal of January 2 1815 at Seaham Hall in County Durham even though I shall have to rely on plenty of artistic license with the decor and furnishing of this room being as I am limited to the use of my imagination as the accounts of this infamous union are sketchy to say the very least!
However, as I have studied and photographed the gown worn by Annabella on that cold January day during a visit to the Fashion Museum in Bath, I can boast of one item of authenticity even if it is 12th scale!
For although I can handle fabrics I can glue, the art of the needle is beyond me and it is fortunate that I have made the acquaintance of Louise from Angelique Miniatures who having positively embraced the art of miniature couture on my behalf has created this wedding gown and the silk pelisse in exquisite form!
And so as my ‘Lord Byron House’ continues to develop, I will be sharing with you the unfolding tale, the triumphs and the tears and even though I have been creating ‘Small Worlds’ for many years now; the passion to design and create a miniature world remains just as intoxicating, rather like my love of cake!
And on that note, I’m off for a wander into the kitchen of 13 Piccadilly Terrace in the hope that a slice or three of this delicious cake remains mine for the taking!