Can You Identify Lord Byron?

Yesterday evening I finished reading

Is there such a thing as a Gothic Comic novella? If so, this is one. It is a rollicking prose gambol, lightheartedly satirising the writer’s contemporaries. There are numerous references to the works of his friends and acquaintances. Peacock loved playing with words, using some in a ridiculously pompous way, and probably inventing others. We may not understand all this nonsense that has been in print for more than two hundred years, but it will definitely provide fun. I won’t give away the story, but I will say that I understand that the author was once torn between two women, and there is possibly an autobiographical element to it.

As can be seen above, my edition is from The Folio Society of 1994. The work was originally published in 1818.

Marilyn Butler’s scholarly introduction sets Mr Peacock in place with his fellow writers.

The book comes in a slip case stamped with gold lettering. It is bound in cloth with one of the artist’s designs.

Mr Forster’s numerous exuberantly grotesque illustrations romp through the pages.

One character represents Lord Byron. Can you identify him?

This afternoon we visited Mum at Woodpeckers in Brockenhurst. We were able to see for ourselves that she is happily settled in.

As we approached the village I saw the potential for this shot in the distance. Jackie was driving at 30 m.p.h. I grabbed the camera, wound my window down, waited for a gap in the speeding undergrowth, took aim; and boy, was I chuffed at the result.

On our return I grabbed another image on the move, this time through the windscreen. It was only when I came to upload the picture that I noticed the dog.

These oaks viewed from Hordle Lane demonstrate that, despite the warmth and sunshine, they are still bereft of foliage.

Late this afternoon Sam, Holly, Malachi, and Orlaith, having arrived in England from Perth, Australia, checked into a nearby caravan site, then came to visit us. While we were enjoying a takeaway Indian meal from Forest Tandoori, Mat, Tess, and Poppy joined us. The jet-lagged family repaired to their caravan and the others stayed the night with us. I finished the pinot noir; others drank red wine or beer.


  1. Oh, you are having a family gathering, I’m so glad to hear that. Rightly pleased about that photo taken in a moving car – would never have thought that! I hope the dog is alright, it took me a while to see him down there – the driver of the cart seems unconcerned though, which I take to be a good sign…… I wonder if Lord Byron is either the very first illustration or the one where the character resembling a cross between him and Superman, sweeping up the women in his voluminous cloak as he goes might be a commonly held viewpoint of the young man . That and the reference to wine.

    1. Many thanks, Pauline. Your second shot is right. Uma says the dogs in India always get out of the way in time – rather like pigeons here, I imagine.

    2. There is NO dog!! It is the ‘feathers’ of the horse the hairy bits around the heavy horses hoofs!! You have to biggyfiy it to see that.

  2. Byron! Mad, Bad, and dangerous to know! I’ll go with the third picture: the one after the pic of the book cover. Ha!

      1. Dang. I went back and looked at other comments. So it’s the one with the cape. Whoa! Very good quiz, Derrick! πŸ™‚

  3. I believe he’s three up, dressed as a bandit chief.

    However, I’m also wondering if the one with the scales of justice could be him too as he was in secret societies and was a supporter of the Luddites.

    I’ve read the book (Kindle edition in my case) but didn’t know there was so much to it.

    Great photos. I’m a bit behind, so it’s good to see you getting out and about. πŸ™‚

  4. These illustrations are surprisingly modern. I haven’t heard of this book and I don’t think I could pick out Lord Byron, but now I’m curious to read the book!

  5. Going very Fox Talbot with the tree compositions. Well done. Fascinating posts & book illustrations. The convergence of two distinct eras of transportation is always intriguing. Take care.

  6. That sounds like a weird and comical but exhilarating in equal measures. Perhaps Mr Cypress represents Lord Byron? The gent with flowing hair and a beatific expression surely qualifies as the flashy star poet. Those are lovely photos on the move, the symmetry in the first one makes the picture. The second one in which you have framed the gentleman driving the buggy is fascinating even though the windshield has chipped at the acuity. The dog I trust will move away in the nick of time, at least they are wont to do that out here.

  7. Glad to hear your mother has settled in nicely, Derrick. That is good news!

    Those are interesting illustrations! I googled Lord Byron’s image. I would say the last illustration might fit.

    Give Jackie my best, and I am wishing a beautiful day ahead for you both. πŸ™‚

  8. Oh My goodness Derrick. If I lived in England I would go mad in old book shops. Sorry I haven’t been in touch for a while. I have moved from Melbourne to Ballarat and it was quite a wrench and took up a bit of my time.

  9. Looks like a fun book with fun illustrations!
    Lord Byron…Hmm…not sure, but know he’s not the one wearing the hat, pointy shoes, and flow-y flowery dress. OOH! On second thought…maybe he is! πŸ˜‰ πŸ˜€ πŸ˜›

    So glad to hear about your Mum! That she’s settling in and you got to go visit with her! πŸ™‚
    Love the tree photos! πŸ™‚
    So happy you have family surrounding you and Jackie! Enjoy the love and laughter and making of good memories! πŸ™‚
    HUGS!!! πŸ™‚

  10. Nightmare 004 bears a strong resemblance to Percy Bysshe Shelley!

    So i’m guessing our Dear Lord must be the man in the Cape? πŸ™‚

    Wonderful camera work with the riding group – nice forward planning!

    It’s good to hear you made it to see Mum and that she is settling in well.

    So what part of my city is Sam and co. from? I’m about 6km due North of the CBD.

      1. Thanks Derrick – I bet they are enjoying the cooler weather over there? it’s been a loooong hot Summer in Perth – 33 C again today!

  11. Wonderful illustrations in that book! And wonderful photos by you.
    I think from your comment that I guessed one right–the one where he’s wearing a turban-thing on his head and holding both a gun and a quill?
    I’m glad your mom is doing well.

  12. What a very strange-looking dog! I thought it had already met its demise, as I’m having trouble making heads or tails out of it.
    Glad you got to visit your Mum.
    And boy, those are some exaggerated illustrations, or as you said, grotesque.

    1. I understand why you thought you had spied Jane Austin, but I don’t think so. The characters are all identified in Wikipedia’s article. Thanks very much, Laurie

  13. I wouldn’t have guessed Byron, but is that Shakespeare beside the lamp post? (Not a flattering portrayal of either bard, if so).

  14. Folio editions are so beautifully illustrated! I read Nightmare Abbey a few years ago but sadly it was an un-illustrated Penguin edition. A very clever and amusing book.

      1. Very welcome, Derrick, and I thank you for the pop quiz; that was fun.
        P.S. Can you see me turning green with envy when reading about your rare books? I had to leave mine behind when I was expelled from Russia.

  15. Did they fly nonstop London/ Perth Qantas Dreamliner? Now that’d be a trip and a half that I’d enjoy. a lot more than a takeaway Indian meal from Forest Tandoori,

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