Sheela-na-Gig aka Jeanne Rathbone

Keats House visit and Eliza Chester.

Posted in Keats House and Eliza Chester by sheelanagigcomedienne on April 3, 2014

I went to Keats House in Hampstead after a family visit for a funeral for Midge who lived in Elephant and Castle. After buying some knickers from the market and yet another beret- grey- I decided to go on the northern line to Hampstead to visit Keats House. It was such a lovely sunny day and I used my rt Fund card for free entry. I was a delighful walk in spring leafy Hamspead Streets to get to the house he lived in before he left for Italy when he got ill an in which he met Fanny Brawne. The house is next to the Branch Library which is now run by volunteers – council cuts. We were guided by a chirpy chap. The museum is run by the City of London as is the nearby Hampstead Heath and not the Borough of Camden. It is a delightful, charming museum. I bought a small book of his poems from the wee gift shop, as you do.

 

Keats House – the City of London Corporation

 

Keats Housekeats

The Romantic poet John Keats lived in this house and was inspired to write his most memorable poetry here. 

The grade 1 listed building is open to the public as a museum and literary centre, where Keats’s memory lives on through events, creative activities and special displays.

Visitors can explore Keats’s study, the bedroom where his consumption was first diagnosed, and the garden which he shared with the love of his life, Fanny Brawne, and in which he composed his famous ‘Ode to a Nightingale’.

​John Keats was born in 1795 and began to write poetry from the age of 18. Encouraged by his school friend, Charles Cowden Clarke, Keats abandoned his profession as an apothecary surgeon to concentrate on poetry full time. Heavily influenced by Shakespeare and Milton, Keats became one of the principal poets of the English Romantic movement along with Lord Byron and Percy Bysshe Shelley. During his lifetime, Keats was attacked by the critics and branded as a ‘cockney poet’, but his posthumous influence has been significant.

Keats wrote some of his best poems at Wentworth Place and it was here that he met and fell in love with ‘the girl next door’, Fanny Brawne. The engagement ring , which had belonged to his mother, is on dispaly which he gave to Fanny. Fannys ring

The house was built during 1814–1815 and was probably completed between November 1815 and February 1816. The house was one of the first to be built in the area known as the Lower Heath Quarter.

This Keats own parlour where he did his writing.

“If Poetry comes not as naturally as Leaves to a tree it had better not come at all.”

– John Keats

keats parlour

By October 1816, Charles Wentworth Dilke and his friend Charles Brown had moved in. Other members of the Dilke family occupied two other adjacent houses. John Keats began visiting the house in 1817 after he had been introduced to Dilke by John Hamilton Reynolds, who was part of Leigh Hunt‘s circle of friends. In December 1818, after Keats’s brother Tom died of tuberculosis, Brown invited Keats to “keep house” with him. Keats paid £5 per month, equivalent to about £250 in 2008 prices, and half the liquor bill.

Keats interior

Dilke and his family left on 3 April 1819 and let the house, probably furnished, to Mrs Brawne, a widow, and her family, who had briefly occupied Brown’s half of the house when Keats and Brown were on their walking tour of Scotland.

He was the oldest of Thomas and Frances Keats’ four children.

Keats lost his parents at an early age. He was eight years old when his father, a livery stable-keeper, was killed after being trampled by a horse.

His father’s death had a profound effect on the young boy’s life. In a more abstract sense, it shaped Keats’ understanding for the human condition, both its suffering and its loss. This tragedy and others helped ground Keats’ later poetry—one that found its beauty and grandeur from the human experience.

 

Brown transferred his part of Wentworth Place to Dilke’s father on 18 June 1822 and left for Italy in the same year.

After Keats’s death, his sister Fanny became friends with Fanny Brawne. Fanny Keats and her husband Valentin Llanos occupied what had been Brown’s half of the house from 1828 until 1831. Mrs Brawne died in December 1829 after an accident. By March 1830, the Brawnes had left the house.

Keats other room

Brown’s parlour containg the grandfather clock which was returned here by his descendants from New Zealand and seemed to have acquired a new body but is still working.

He was the oldest of Thomas and Frances Keats’ four children.

Keats lost his parents at an early age. He was eight years old when his father, a livery stable-keeper, was killed after being trampled by a horse.

His father’s death had a profound effect on the young boy’s life. In a more abstract sense, it shaped Keats’ understanding for the human condition, both its suffering and its loss. This tragedy and others helped ground Keats’ later poetry—one that found its beauty and grandeur from the human experience.

A Thing of Beauty (Endymion)

A thing of beauty is a joy for ever:
Its lovliness increases; it will never
Pass into nothingness; but still will keep
A bower quiet for us, and a sleep
Full of sweet dreams, and health, and quiet breathing.
Therefore, on every morrow, are we wreathing
A flowery band to bind us to the earth,
Spite of despondence, of the inhuman dearth
Of noble natures, of the gloomy days,
Of all the unhealthy and o’er-darkn’d ways
Made for our searching: yes, in spite of all,
Some shape of beauty moves away the pall
From our dark spirits. Such the sun, the moon,
Trees old and young, sprouting a shady boon
For simple sheep; and such are daffodils
With the green world they live in; and clear rills
That for themselves a cooling covert make
‘Gainst the hot season; the mid-forest brake,
Rich with a sprinkling of fair musk-rose blooms:
And such too is the grandeur of the dooms
We have imagined for the mighty dead;
An endless fountain of immortal drink,
Pouring unto us from the heaven’s brink.

John Keats Biography – Facts, Birthday, Life Story – Biography.co      Keats devoted his short life to the perfection of poetry marked by vivid imagery, great sensuous appeal and an attempt to express a philosophy through classical legend. In 1818 he went on a walking tour in the Lake District. His exposure and overexertion on that trip brought on the first symptoms of the tuberculosis, which ended his life.

He was the oldest of Thomas and Frances Keats’ four children. He lost his parents at an early age. He was eight years old when his father, a livery stable-keeper, was killed after being trampled by a horse.

His father’s death had a profound effect on the young boy’s life. In a more abstract sense, it shaped Keats’ understanding for the human condition, both its suffering and its loss. This tragedy and others helped ground Keats’ later poetry—one that found its beauty and grandeur from the human experience.

Ode to a Nightingale

Ode on a Grecian Urn

  • Ode to Fancy
  • Ode – (Bards of Passion and of Mirth)
  • Lines on the Mermaid Tavern
  • Robin Hood – To a Friend
  • Ode to Apollo

keats poems

  • I stood tiptoe upon a little hill
  • Specimen of an induction to a poem
  • Calidore – a fragment
  • To Some Ladies
  • On Receiving a Curious Shell, and a Copy of Verses from the Same Ladies
  • To – Georgiana Augusta Wylie, afterwards Mrs. George Keats
  • To Hope
  • Imitation of Spenser
  • Three Sonnets on Woman
  • Sleep and Poetry
  • On Death
  • Women, Wine, and Snuff
  • Fill For Me a Brimming Bowl
  • Isabella or The Pot of Basil
  • To a Young Lady who Sent Me a Laurel Crown
  • On Receiving a Laurel Crown from Leigh Hunt
  • To the Ladies who Saw me Crown’d
  • Hymn to Apollo
  • The Eve of St. Agnes
  • To – [Had I a man’s fair form, then might my sighs]
  • Written on the Day that Mr. Leigh Hunt left Prison
  • How many bards gild the lapses of time!
  • To a Friend Who Sent Me Some Roses
  • To G. A. W. [Georgiana Augusta Wylie]
  • O Solitude! if I must with thee dwell
  • To My Brothers
  • Keen, fitful gusts are whisp’ring here and there
  • To one who has been long in city pent
  • On First Looking into Chapman’s Homer
  • On Leaving Some Friends at an Early Hour
  • Addressed to Haydon
  • On the Grasshopper and Cricket
  • To Koscuisko
  • Happy is England! I could be content
  • Sonnet on Peace
  • Sonnet to Byron
  • Sonnet to Chatterton
  • Sonnet to Spenser

    Give my Love to Fanny and tell her, if I were well there is enough in this Port of Naples to fill a quire of PaperI do not feel in the world…I dare not fix my Mind upon Fanny, I have not dared think of her. The only comfort I have had that way has been in thinking for hours together of having the knife she gave me put in the silver-case-the hair in a locket – and the Pocket Book in a gold net – Show her this. I dare say no more – Yet if you must not believe I am so ill as this Letter may look, for if ever there was a person born without the faculty of hoping I am he.

    Keats wrote this in his letter to Mrs brawne, Fanny’s mother,  from Italy.

Keats extensionThis lovely room was added by in 1838 when it was bought by the actress Eliza Jane Chester.

eliza jane chesterEliza removed the staircase in the Keats/Brown side of the house and knocked through the walls to create a single house. She also added the drawing room at the eastern end of the house (the Chester Room). Miss Chester was famous during the 1820s and early 1830s for playing the lead roles in comedies and especially for her appearances as Beatrice in Much Ado About Nothing and Lady Teazle in The School for Scandal. She was known for her beauty and elegance rather than her acting ability or her voice. She had a wealthy and influential patron, and later became a favourite of King George IV.eliza chester bookHer portrait by John Jackson 1920 was used on this book by Margaret Telfer. Forget Me Not tells the tales of five women from the Chester, Robins and Devenish families set in both England and Western Australia.

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