What did Keats Wear?

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

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What did Keats Wear?

Postby Malia » Wed May 03, 2006 6:08 am

As I've been re-reading some Keats bios, I've come across different references to his wardrobe. All biographers that I've read say that at one time or another--around 1817--Keats dressed in what was refered to as some sort of "Naval Costume". Ward says it was a sailor's costume (perhaps a lower-ranked shipmate) but Gittings says that Keats's contemporaries said he dressed more like an officer.

Of course, this got me wondering--and wandering--around the internet and I've found a picture of a costume from the British Historical Maritime Society. Yes, there are folks out there who have the time to dress up in Naval costume and re-enact Lord Nelson's victory, God love 'em!

This pic might depict something a little *earlier* than Keats might have worn, but not by much. This would be a Lieutenant's uniform. . .

Image


Hmm. . .that pic is a little small--you can see it better if you go to the website:

http://www.hms.org.uk/

Click on the link that says "pictures" a little ways down the main page and it will take you to a page of thumbnail photos--the New Lieutenant is the thumbnail name.

I'm guessing Aileen Ward thought he might have dressed in the following type of Uniform? This one is of a Boatswain (which I assume is a lower rank than lieutenant--someone correct me if I'm wrong. . .I know nothing about the British Naval system :oops:

Image

So, what do you all think? What exactly did Keats *wear*? Hmmm. . . ;)
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Postby dks » Wed May 03, 2006 2:22 pm

Thanks for that info, Malia.

The only reference I ever recall about Keats's attire was in Ward and in Stephen Hebron's bio where they both talk about how he had at one point adopted the Byronic mode of dress--very anti-Beau Brummel, or anti-dandy. For instance, he would wear what they called "plaids" or "plaid trousers" with his neckerchief down and slightly open--Byron, of course, started that craze...and it was, apparently a sort of craze among less conservative types--writers, actors (Edmund Kean wore clothes like that)--not unlike our rebellious "bad boys" today, I suppose--but much more tempered, I guess. I do think he was defintely wearing those shirts, at least--open collared, loosley closed with lace strings and billowed, bishop-styled sleeves.
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Postby Credo Buffa » Thu May 04, 2006 12:20 am

Thanks, dks. I remembered reading about that, but couldn't find where.
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Postby dks » Thu May 04, 2006 12:23 am

Credo Buffa wrote:Thanks, dks. I remembered reading about that, but couldn't find where.


Sure...but now you have me wanting to find out more about that... :wink:
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Postby Saturn » Thu May 04, 2006 12:37 am

"He stood in his shoes and he wondered" :wink:
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Postby dks » Thu May 04, 2006 12:39 am

Saturn wrote:"He stood in his shoes and he wondered" :wink:


Ahhh- my middle son and I were just reading that one aloud a bit earlier... :wink:
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Re: What did Keats Wear?

Postby SnuggleKeats » Sun Oct 12, 2008 9:12 pm

"Among the rough-and-tumble of hospital life, he now felt it necessary to establish him own identity, and, in a superficial sense, to act the poet. 'The greatest men in the world were the Poets, and to rank among them was the chief object of his ambition,' Stephens noted. Keats decided to make sure he was a poet by dressing and looking like Byron. While George and Tom still wore high collars and neckerchiefs, their poet brother turned down his collar, and wore it open with only a thin black ribbon round his bare neck; he also experimented with a set of Byronic moustaches."

Just like any rebellious teen wanting to rage against the conservative, I suppose...
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Re: What did Keats Wear?

Postby Saturn » Sun Oct 12, 2008 10:04 pm

Of course.

It would be funny [but unlikely] to find a portrait of Keats with the famed Byronic moustache :lol:
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Re: What did Keats Wear?

Postby Malia » Sun Oct 12, 2008 10:51 pm

You know, I think Keats might have been able to "pull off" a mustache. He had a very wide mouth and I have observed that guys with overly wide mouths tend to look the best in facial hair.
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Re: What did Keats Wear?

Postby Saturn » Sun Oct 12, 2008 10:58 pm

Mmmmmm I see it more as what they call in my neck-of-the-woods a 'bumfluff' moustache. Keats, being a fair, or auburn-haired lad would probably have had a very light coloured moustache and not quite the Clarke Gable number Byron was wearing in his famous 'Turkish' portrait.

No I can't see it, I won't have Keats with a mousey facial feature.
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Re: What did Keats Wear?

Postby Malia » Sun Oct 12, 2008 11:01 pm

Hmm. . .true. Maybe he could have gone full-bearded ala Kenneth Branagh. He's fair haired and looks pretty good with a beard. (Though I'm not much a fan of the man, himself, I'm afraid. . .)
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Re: What did Keats Wear?

Postby Saturn » Sun Oct 12, 2008 11:24 pm

Sacrilege!!! :cry:
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Re: What did Keats Wear?

Postby SnuggleKeats » Mon Oct 13, 2008 12:41 am

Saturn wrote:No I can't see it, I won't have Keats with a mousey facial feature.


I'm with ya on this one. It would've tarnished the pretty.
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