My interest in Byron goes back to my youth, when I visited the printing press in my local museum at Newark-on-Trent, Nottinghamshire, used by S & J Ridge to print the poet’s first verses, ‘Fugitive Pieces’ (1806) and ‘Hours of Idleness’ (1807).
LORD BYRON’sBest Friends
Byron. The very name conjures up an image of reckless romance, scandal, adventure, wild emotions, foreign lands, poetry and glamour. But dogs? It is not widely known that man’s best friend held a precious place in Byron’s affections. This book by renowned Byron enthusiast, Geoffrey Bond, sheds new light on the poet’s canine love affairs: from bulldogs to Boatswain and beyond. There are Newfoundlands, Mastiffs, Terriers, Greyhounds, and even a Poodle! Fabulously illustrated throughout, this book also features a colourful condensed biography of the poet.
Geoffrey Bond’s book is a magnificent production – big – with the highest quality paper, numerous superb illustrations, and a dense, expert commentary. It’s already gone to the top of my list of the best-presented – and best-looking – book in my Byron collection.
The numerous illustrations include many not immediately related to the book’s canine theme, but none the less welcome. They include, for instance, Byron’s wedding certificate. The bulk of the book is about the dogs, and here Geoffrey Bond’s expertise in matters like the history of different breeds becomes clear, as well as in the histories of Byron’s individual pets. Apparently his most famous dog, Boatswain, was not quite the Newfoundland of legend – his pricked as opposed to pendant ears suggest something closer to a husky. Elizabeth Pigot’s “famous but little-known” illustrated poem ‘The Wonderful History of Lord Byron & his Dog’ is reproduced over eight generous pages.
Dr Peter Cochran
Independent Academic & Byron Scholar, Cambridge
What they’re saying…
Original and revealing.
Loyd Grossman, Writer & Broadcaster
A splendid book, a great addition to works dedicated to dogs.
Brian Sewell, Art Critic, The Evening Standard
I am delighted to have a copy of this handsome book.
Sir Andrew Motion, Poet Laureate 1999 – 2009
A gorgeously produced book – a resounding triumph.
Jack Wasserman, Antiquarian Book Collector, New York
Beautifully produced – I have not seen the illustrated Elizabeth Pigot book before.
Robin Byron, 13th Lord (the poet was the 6th)
A sensationally well-produced book – it must be the handsomest book on Byron ever published.
Dr Peter Cochran, Academic, Cambridge
A splendid book, extremely knowledgeable and handsome; something for me and other Byronists to treasure.
Dr Christine Kenyon Jones, Kings College, University of London
A substantial and beautiful book of enviable and exquisite standards that all other authors and publishers must look on in dumb admiration. I have seen so much in it that I haven’t seen before.
David McClay, Director, John Murray Archives, National Library of Scotland
Beautifully illustrated, impeccably and thoroughly researched, eminently readable, this book fills a notable gap in Byron studies as much as shedding new light on the poet himself.
Richard A. Cardwell, Professor of Modern Spanish Literatures & History, University of Nottingham
No man who loves dogs can be entirely mad, bad and dangerous to know, and Byron and his friends have been memorialised splendidly – as faithfully as a Newfoundland, perhaps!
Huon Mallalieu, Journalist