Lord Byron expert Geoffrey Bond has written the first book devoted to the poet’s love of dogs titled ‘Lord Byron’s Best Friends: From Bulldogs to Boatswain and Beyond’. The book sheds new light on Byron’s relationship with his dogs, making use of Byron’s writings and many beautiful images, some of which have never been published before.
Many books have been written on Byron and his biographers have mentioned his love of animals but this book is thought to be the first devoted to Byron and his dogs. The poet owned many different breeds during his lifetime from Bulldogs to Newfoundlands, Mastiffs, Terriers, Greyhounds and even a Poodle. It is through the study of his relationship with these animals that the reader will get a greater insight into Byron’s personality.
Geoffrey’s interest in Byron began when he was eight years old after a visit to the Newark Museum in Nottinghamshire, which showed the printing press on which some of the poet’s first poems were printed. He hopes his book gives readers a more enlightened view of the poet.
“I want people to realise that Byron was not just a famous egotist but a person with great compassion, not only for his dogs but also for people. I want the reader to discover there is another side to Byron.”
“Byron had a difficult childhood and although he was elevated unexpectedly into the aristocracy, he remained an outsider. His dogs gave him unquestioning affection, protection and obedience. He could relate to them more easily than he could to people.”
Geoffrey worked with artist and fellow Byron enthusiast Nick Hugh McCann on the book design, sourcing many exciting and previously unpublished images. Geoffrey wanted his book to be a work of art and says that it has been a labour of love and is beautifully designed with its hardbacked, gold embossed cover showing a silhouette of Byron at 18.
Highlights among the pictures include a watercolour of ‘Three Poets in Three Different Kingdoms Born’, which has not been seen before in a publication and the children’s book ‘The Wonderful History of Lord Byron and his Dog’ written in 1807 by Byron’s childhood friend in Southwell, Elizabeth Pigot. The book is reproduced in its entirety and colour for the first time.
‘Lord Byron’s Best Friends: From Bulldogs to Boatswain and Beyond’ is now available on Amazon.