A Libertine with Learning
Blazing Star: The Life and Times of John Wilmot, Earl of Rochester. The famous painting of the restoration Libertine, John Wilmot, makes up an important part of the agency’s identity. It also now sports the front cover of Blazing Star, the biography by Alexander Larman.
John Wilmot was a freethinker, a poet, wit and raconteur in Charles II’s Court. His libertinism was intellectual as well as sexual. He was a budding alcoholic by the age of 14, imprisoned in the Tower at 18, a war hero at 19, a court celebrity in his 20’s and dead by the time he was 33. He was, as Larman suggests, the Restorations answer to the comedian Russell Brand. Unlike Brand, of course, he also wrote some rather spectacular poems.
We chose his image as part of our identity more for the celebration of creativity, freethinking and colourful characters than for his lifestyle or moral compass. That said, an occasional quote from him revealed that there really was some substance behind the debauchery and bawdiness: “It’s not an easy thing to be entirely happy, but to be kind is very easy, and that is the greatest measure of happiness”. Wise words!