Sunday, 8 July 2018

Slaving Over a Hot Stove? Me Thinks NOT!

I profess that cooking is definitely not my forte, I am oblivious to the designs of any kitchen and I would rather spend money on chocolate and books than on any cooking gadget.

That said I have had to create a Regency kitchen which now nestles in the basement of my 13 Piccadilly Terrace!

Lord Byron would have had no interest in the design or practicalities of any kitchen for his attitude towards food was for the most part ambivalent.

The Regency fashion for delicious cuisine left no impression and in his journals he confessed that he would frequently go for days without eating a substantial meal preferring a diet of 'hard biscuits and Soda water'.

Before his marriage in January 1816 it had been left to Annabella to engage the cook for the engaged couple prior to their move to 13 Piccadilly Terrace in London:

So - thou hast engaged a Cook for us - I will trust your taste, - - -

History would indicate that Byron clearly did not trust her taste, however that is another story!

Anyway, I hope that he will now trust to mine as I have designed a kitchen that any respectable Regency cook would be happy to work in.

Although the kitchen in the Regency era was very different to the modern and convenient kitchens of today being a place of hard toil in uncomfortable conditions with limited light they still retain a charm that is easy to recreate in miniature.

The designs for my miniature kitchen have been inspired by the Georgian kitchen within the beautiful Fairfax House here in the City of York.

I confess that I have also been (occasionally, I might add!) inspired to create the sumptuous dishes of 'Game Pie, Plum Pudding and Roasted Hare' that are on display in the kitchen at Fairfax House despite Byron's factious letter to Lady Melbourne:

a woman should never be seen eating or drinking unless it be lobster sallad & champagne...

Time for a cup of tea and a biscuit I think!

Sources used:
Byron's Letters and Journals Vol 4 1814-1815 Ed Leslie A. Marchand (London: John Murray 1975)
Lord Byron's Relish The Regency Cook Book, Wilma Paterson (Glasgow: Dog & Bone 1990

Thursday, 17 May 2018

A Miniature Romance? Peep Behind the Door!

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

AND with a generous monthly pledge of $10 - YOU too shall discover a little romance with exclusive access to the world of '13 Piccadilly Terrace' on my Patreon page.

Inspired by the life of the poet Lord Byron, '13 Piccadilly Terrace' is the story of a 12th scale historical house which has enjoyed world wide recognition - however, the story is FAR from over! 

With access to my Patreon musings, you can follow me as I step inside Number 13 and return to the year 1815!

I'll take you into the fabulous world of Lord Byron and that of his family as he lived at 13 Piccadilly Terrace and you can watch me as I recreate his lifestyle in miniature as faithfully as possible and along the way, you'll learn something about the dazzling Regency era too!

You'll have the opportunity to see a completed Regency world before anyone else and you can enjoy other Patreon rewards too

But what IS Patreon? And how does it work?

Although I love what I do and cannot imagine myself doing anything other than this – I do know that in this crazy world of mine that it's impossible to survive on fresh air with only a diet of hope and the occasional box of donated teabags.

The glue, paint, wood, tools, paintbrushes, fabric and all of the other lovely stuff I use to create my imaginary worlds ALL costs money AND if it didn't - I would either be crawling over hot coals to get to this 'Land of the Free' or else I'd be spending time at Her Majesty's Pleasure...

Which brings me to Patreon!

Patreon is a crowd funding membership site for artists just like me - although I've yet to find anyone else using this site who creates anything quite like I do!

Beginning with a monthly pledge from a $1 and up which is charged to your card on the 1st of every month – not only will you be supporting me in my work but you'll also be invited to cross the portal and step into my world!​

AND there are also lots of unique rewards to enjoy including exclusive 'behind-the-scenes' images, giveaways, tutorials and an anniversary gift.​

If you love the Regency era and are captivated by a time synonymous with elegant romance and are fascinated by historical characters and would love to peep behind closed doors and hear tales of scandal and intrigue or you want to step into another era of ravenous appetites and hardship - this is the reward is for you!

Your pledge means everything to me as it will allow me to the freedom to design, create and teach and it would be wonderful to inspire others to become a 'little' creative too - and you can cancel or amend your pledge at any time!

If you are unable to pledge - that's OK for knowing that you are still reading this means just as much - Thank you!

Monday, 14 May 2018

A 'Real' 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 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 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 try to oblige him!

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

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 January 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)

Blood* Hell! The Windows are Finally Dressed!

Dear Diary...

Can I have a drum roll please....

 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.

The Drawing Room of 13 Piccadilly Terrace...

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.

Although I can handle fabrics I can glue, the sight of needle and thread has always made my heart beat a little faster - and not in a good way!

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!

The Dining Room of 13 Piccadilly Terrace...

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 Sue Heaser's Curtains 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'!

Before You Leave...

If you've enjoyed this post - why not become one of my Patreon 'Honorary Housekeepers' for more exclusive access to the world of 13 Piccadilly Terrace?

Or why not dust off your parasol or cravat and travel back to the year 1815 and explore the house inspired by the life of the poet Lord Byron?

However, if you should see that Little Big Cat roaming around inside Number 13 - be sure to let me know!