- J.M. Barrie, author of Peter Pan, compliments Olive's plays, a contemporary
- Rupert Brooke, at college with Julian Cain, he attends all the right plays and parties.
- William Morris, whose artworks are mentioned often and sets the tone for the Arts and Crafts subtext of the novel.
- Bernard Palissy, mentioned throughout as the most expert of potters.
- Oscar Wilde, shown in his declining years and at the Paris
- Edward Carpenter, gay activist and advocate of "back to nature" approach as a cure for civilisation problems
- George Merrill, Carpenter's lifelong companion
- Emma Goldman, an anarchist known for her political activism, writing and speeches.
- Marie Stopes, family planning pioneer
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