l Lord Byron

l Lord Byron

While often regarded as the original libertine, poet George Gordon Byron was born into the Romantic age a century or so later. In between penning lengthy narrative poems, Aberdeenshire-raised Byron ran up huge debts and had affairs with both sexes. Amid rumours of an affair with his half-sister, Byron travelled Italy and died of fever in Greece, aged 36.

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l Marquis de Sade

Possibly the most notorious of all libertines, the aristocratic Donatien Alphonse Francois de Sade cut a swathe through 18th and early 19th century France with a multitude of literary works that fused philosophy and sexual fantasy. De Sade lived his life as he wrote it, and spent some 32 years in prison, gifting the world the notion of sadism. De Sade embarked on a four-year affair with a 14-year-old before dying aged 74 in 1814.

l Peter Doherty

A man so in love with the image of a poet wastrel ruffian that he named his band The Libertines, Doherty became tabloid fodder, both for his misadventures with drugs and his high profile affair with model Kate Moss. Beyond all this lay a talented songwriter who inspired devotion among a young fan-base.

l Sebastian Horsley

Born in Yorkshire in 1962, and originally named Marcus, he cut a dash through Edinburgh's post-punk scene of the 1980s, was filmed being crucified in the Philippines so he could paint on the subject, wrote about how he preferred sex with prostitutes and held court to a Soho demi-monde. All of this was detailed in his 2007 autobiography, Dandy In The Underworld, which was turned into a play in 2010. Horsley attended the opening night, and was found dead of a heroin and cocaine overdose two days later.