Keats-Shelley House New Website and Digital Collection
The launch coincides with the start of Keats-Shelley 200, three years of events, exhibitions and activities in the UK and Italy celebrating the poets’ extraordinary works and the legacy they left to future generations.
The digital collections site brings together for the first time the museum’s significant collection of some four hundred autograph manuscripts, as well as the museum’s collection of art works and relics pertaining to the world’s greatest romantic poets.
The manuscript collection includes an autograph letter written by John Keats to his friend Thomas Monkhouse on 21 June 1818, the day before Keats set off on his walking tour of Scotland, a trip that would inspire him to write a dozen or so poems and includes an attempt to visit his hero Wordsworth in the Lake District.
The letter is remarkable in that it shows Keats on the cusp of one of the most important moments of his career, a defining journey. The content reveals Keats’s love of Wordsworth, which followed Benjamin Haydon’s Immortal Dinner in London in 1817 during which Keats and Wordsworth first met. There is even a reference within the letter to Keats’s most famous poem, Endymion, which was published in 1818.
Other manuscript letters in the collection include one dated 6 June 1818 written by Keats to his friend the artist Joseph Severn. The poet and the painter were still living in London at that time and were part of the same circle of friends. Two and a half years later Severn would be nursing Keats through his final months alive in Rome. There is another letter from Severn to Keats’s friend Charles Brown dated 27 February 1821, a few days after Keats’s death in Rome, and recording the poet’s last spoken words in the room which is now part of the museum.
Finally, there are several autographed letters by Mary Shelley and Oscar Wilde’s autographed manuscript of his sonnet about Keats.
Other notable pieces include a self portrait of Keats, Dance Cards of Shelley and Byron, portraits of Shelley, Mary Shelley’s travel writing desk, books that belonged to Keats, Shelley and Byron, and a small number of physical remains of Keats and Shelley that have been preserved over the last two centuries. Visitors to the website can also see hi-resolution images of the paintings and sculptures in the museum, including Joseph Severn’s sketch of Keats on his death bed, drawn on 28th January 1821.
Scholars will also be able to search our library catalogue online.
Whilst the museum now remains closed to curb the spread of coronavirus young learners will soon also experience a panoramic immersive educational visit to the museum, including seeing the digitised collections and recently restored historic ceilings with their lovely and varying flower motifs.
The digital collection and online experience has been carefully curated under the expert direction of Dr Giuseppe Albano MBE, Curator of the Keats-Shelley House, and Alessandra Giovenco, Archivist at the British School at Rome.
Dr Albano has one clear message for visitors:
“This is the start of a bicentenary of special events and exhibitions to mark the lives and acknowledge the extraordinary legacies of Keats and Shelley. We’ve used the museum’s closure due to Covid-19 and unexpected quiet time to finish the task and get these collections online, including our unique collection of autograph letters, most of which have never been exhibited at the House before. We hope visitors will be able to come and see us again in Rome soon but in the meantime we’re pleased to be able to share this resource with you.”
Dr Albano hopes that a further easing of the lockdown in Italy on 18th May will enable the Keats-Shelley House to open again to the general public
Archivist Alessandra Giovenco added that:
“The digital publication of the Keats-Shelley House collections is a first step towards innovative ways of engaging audiences with its collections both virtually and physically.”
At this exceptional time and period of closure voluntary donations are very welcome to help support the work of the Keats-Shelley House. As a British museum abroad the Keats-Shelley House and Library receives no public funding from the UK.
Donations can be made by going to https://ksh.roma.it/content/donate
Odes for John Keats - Now Available as an E-Book
KSMA's anthology of contemporary poets responding to John Keats's great 1819 odes now available for Kindle
The Keats-Shelley House Will Re-Open on Tuesday 26 May 2020
The Immortal Dinner 2 Competition
Nominate who you would like to sit between Keats and Shelley at a new Immortal Dinner (and yes we know Shelley wasn't at the original)
Keats-Shelley House New Website and Digital Collection
2020’s Keats-Shelley and Young Romantics Prizes - Winners
The winning poems and essays in the Keats-Shelley and Young Romantics competitions announced online by Guest Judge Simon Barnes
Welcome to 2020’s Keats-Shelley Prize Announcement
2020's Keats-Shelley Awards, which were revealed this evening at 7pm GMT and introduced by Sir Ivor Roberts, Chairman of the Keats-Shelley Memorial Association.
Keats-Shelley Poetry Workshops with Moira Egan
From 20 April, prize-winning poet Moira Egan offers online group workshops and invidual consultations in collaboration with Keats-Shelley House
Keats-Shelley200 Ambassadors Send Tributes to Keats-Shelley House
Our Ambassadors for the Keats-Shelley Bicentenaries send messages to the House and to Italy
A Message from Giuseppe Albano on 111th Birthday of Keats-Shelley House
Our Curator pays tribute to the museum staff and the people of Italy (and so do Julian Sands, Reeta Chakrabarti and Rosie Cavaliero)