Rare lifetime miniature portrait of Keats?

The life of John Keats the man: his family, his friends, and his contemporaries.

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Re: Rare lifetime miniature portrait of Keats?

Postby Raphael » Sat Apr 27, 2013 10:50 pm

Saturn wrote:
Cybele wrote:(Shelley, interestingly, tested "clean.")


Shelley was legendarily abstemious, a vegetarian before such a word was even coined, didn't drink or anything.


Yes, I'm reading a book on the history of vegeterianism- there are a few pages on Shelley in it. Being one myself I find the subject interesting. There are details of what Shelley and his friends ate- they were actually almost vegan. They called their diet the vegetable or Pythagorean diet. Didn't know Shelley didn't drink alchohol either- the book doesn't mention that. He certainly was an interesting fellow!
John....you did not live to see-
who we are because of what you left,
what it is we are in what we make of you.

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Re: Rare lifetime miniature portrait of Keats?

Postby Cybele » Sun Apr 28, 2013 2:33 am

Ah. The Pythagoreans! They had their diet, as recommended by Pythagoras, himself. I could never follow it. There's no way I could ever give up beans.
"The philosopher proves that the philosopher exists. The poet merely enjoys existence."
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Re: Rare lifetime miniature portrait of Keats?

Postby Raphael » Sun Apr 28, 2013 4:54 am

Yes, strange they were against beans! I love them too.
John....you did not live to see-
who we are because of what you left,
what it is we are in what we make of you.

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Re: Rare lifetime miniature portrait of Keats?

Postby Ennis » Tue May 07, 2013 6:06 pm

Cath wrote:It was reported in The Telegraph yesterday that Bonhams in America has acquired a rare lifetime lifetime miniature portrait of the poet John Keats pictured here:
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/art/artsales/9980130/Market-news-rare-portrait-of-Keats-found-by-Bonhams.html

It seems to have been reproduced on the frontispiece of a Keats biography published in 1933 - Autobiography of John Keats by William Wilke (Stanford University Press, USA) who claimed it was by Charles Hayter (1761-1835). On the reverse of the miniature portrait there is a lock of hair (supposedly Keats's). Bonhams says that the painting technique and framing are contemporary with the final years of Keats’s life.

I'm always a little skeptical about rarities turning up centuries later although I acknowledge not all are inauthentic. I also don't think it looks very much like the Keats we know from other paintings or the life and death masks, though it *could* simply be a poor likeness and of course he is shown in boyhood here.

What do you all think?

---------
The article:
A rare lifetime miniature portrait of John Keats and a group of five drawings by John Constable have been found by Bonhams in America, and are to be sold in London this summer. The history of the miniature is still being unravelled, but the portrait was known because it was reproduced on the frontispiece of a biography of Keats published by Stanford University Press, California, in 1933. As most portraits of Keats, who died in 1821 aged 25, are posthumous and based on a painting of him seated, this painting of the poet against a sky background is unique. The painting technique and framing are contemporary with the final years of Keats’s life, says Bonhams. In the back of the frame is a lock of dark blond hair.

The painting is thought to have been acquired by the recently deceased owner in San Francisco in the Fifties, but how it got to America is not known. The artist is not known either, but authorship has been attributed to the circle of the miniatures painter Charles Hayter, with an estimate of £10,000 to £15,000.



Cath -

I own a copy of The Autobiography of John Keats, and just in case any of our Keatsians friends would like to find a copy for themselves, I would like to point out that William Wilke is the illustrator and Earle Vonard Weller is the author. Thanks for the info, though, and I certainly appreciate all the Keats "finds" you share with us. I really look forward to you ferreting out new Keats materials I'm not aware of! Keep it up! I'm always interested in new finds, especially if I can print them or, better yet, purchase them - if they're reasonably priced, of course!~
"But if you will fully love me, though there may be some fire, 'twill not be more than we can bear when moistened and bedewed with Pleasures." JK to FB 08.07.1819
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Re: Rare lifetime miniature portrait of Keats?

Postby Cath » Mon May 13, 2013 1:46 am

Ennis wrote:I own a copy of The Autobiography of John Keats, and just in case any of our Keatsians friends would like to find a copy for themselves, I would like to point out that William Wilke is the illustrator and Earle Vonard Weller is the author.


Thanks for clearing that up, Ennis! It was very difficult to find any info about this book at all.
"Why should we be owls, when we can be Eagles?" (Keats to Reynolds, 3 February 1818)
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Re: Rare lifetime miniature portrait of Keats?

Postby Ennis » Wed May 15, 2013 2:59 am

I have a book by Donald Parson titled Portraits of Keats (1954), and I thought y'all be interested in what Parson says about this "new" portrait. Interestingly, he's placed his discussion in the chapter titled "Debatable Portraits," and what he has to say is this:

"The Hayter miniature was painted on ivory. Upholders of its authenticity aver that 'the features of the portrait are strangely akin to those of the life mask.' They claim that the miniature was 'hidden for scores of years in a small art and antique shop in London,' which presumably accounts for the fact that the world knew nothing of it until 1933, when it was reproduced in color as the Frontispiece of the Autobiography of John Keats, compiled from his letters and essays by Earle V. Weller.
"Who would be so bold as to deny that the man portrayed in this miniature could not be John Keats?--that the features bear scant resemblance to those of the life mask?--that the cast in the right eye is a physical blemish not so much as hinted at by any of Keats's observant friends?"

If any of you have a chance to find this book, you need to check it out! Some of the portraits that claim to be Keats are hilarious! It's an interesting book to have in your Keats library.
"But if you will fully love me, though there may be some fire, 'twill not be more than we can bear when moistened and bedewed with Pleasures." JK to FB 08.07.1819
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