"Once a whole lot of us bathed in the river with nothing on and afterwards little Harriet Belmont sat naked in the grass and played to us on her flute"

Reggie Oliver, Stella Gibbons's nephew and biographer, reports Stella Gibbons's friend Ida Graves as saying that this scenario was based on a real incident, and that Isobel Powys, the niece of the novelist-brothers John Cowper Powys (1872-1963) and Theodore Francis Powys (1975-1953) was the model for Harriet Belmont.

Oliver also suggests that elements in Cold Comfort Farm parody the work of J.C. Powys.

Isobel Powys married Herbert Marks (who had previously been married to Ida Graves). Marks is generally believed to be the model for Mr Mybug.