"The mouth, so far as I could see it under the heavy moustache, was fixed and rather cruel-looking"
Sir Richard Burton
Public DomainSir Richard Burton - Credit: Frederic Leighton

Bram Stoker wrote a book about his beloved friend Henry Irving, titled Personal Reminiscences of Henry Irving. In it, he records the time they met Sir Richard Burton, a Victorian explorer, writer, soldier and diplomat. Bram Stoker was struck by Burton's 'iron' appearance, and the description given seems to match some of Dracula's traits. Could Bram Stoker have been influenced by Richard Burton when creating the cruel, steely Count?


"But the man riveted my attention. He was dark, and forceful, and masterful, and ruthless. I have never seen so iron a countenance." - describing Richard Burton. p224


"The predominant characteristics were the darkness of the face - the desert burning; the strong mouth and nose, and jaw and forehead - the latter somewhat bold - and the strong, deep, resonant voice. My first impression of the man as of steel was consolidated and enhanced." - describing Richard Burton. p225


Compare the picture of Richard Burton (right) to this description of Dracula:

"His face was a strong - a very strong - aquiline, with high bridge of the thin nose and peculiarly arched nostrils; with lofty domed forehead, and hair growing scantily round the temples, but profusely elsewhere. His eyebrows were very massive... The mouth, so far as I could see it under the heavy moustache, was fixed and rather cruel-looking... the chin was broad and strong, and the cheeks firm though thin." - describing Dracula.


And, after Richard Burton remorselessly describes what it is like to kill a man:

"As he spoke the upper lip rose and his canine tooth showed its full length like the gleam of a dagger." - describing Richard Burton. p229


Read more about Bram Stoker, Henry Irving and Richard Burton in Personal Reminiscences of Henry Irving.