My visit to Keats House Hampstead, 10th Sept. '09.

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My visit to Keats House Hampstead, 10th Sept. '09.

Postby Saturn » Sun Sep 20, 2009 12:13 am

See the pictures here:

http://s15.photobucket.com/albums/a366/johnbryon/Keats%20House%20Hampstead%2009/

For the best view click on slideshow in blue.

The interior shots are mobile phone pictures which accounts for the poor quality [you're not allowed to actually take photos inside the house - don't tell anyone!!!].
"Oh what a misery it is to have an intellect in splints".
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Re: My visit to Keats House Hampstead, 10th Sept. '09.

Postby Malia » Sun Sep 20, 2009 12:30 am

Fabulous, Saturn! Wow, it is great to see your pics. I am really looking forward to my visit in November. It won't look near as beautiful as it did on your visit--with flowers in bloom and the Autumn just beginning. You know, I think today is the anniversary of the day Keats wrote To Autumn. . .hold on. . .let me check. . .Yes it is! Keats wrote To Autumn on September 19, 1819. Your outdoor shots of Wentworth Place got me to remembering that little piece of Keatsian trivia. :)

Did you get to go into the Library and see more artifacts there?
How did you feel about the trip overall? Was the transformation of Keats House successful in your mind?
I swear, when I was there the place was falling apart and it was poignantly sad--the phrase that kept repeating in my ears was: "O smile among the shades for this is fame!" I wonder what phrase will strike a chord in my heart this time around? Did any verse ring in your ears while you toured the house and grounds, Saturn?

Thanks again for the pics!
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Re: My visit to Keats House Hampstead, 10th Sept. '09.

Postby Saturn » Sun Sep 20, 2009 1:27 am

No Malia I didn't go to the library, I didn't really have the time, and I didn't realise you could go into the library. I thought it was like only for scholars and whatnot :oops: I guess coming out of the House itself I was still almost in a daze, kind of not able to take everything in at that time.

As for the transformation/restoration of the house, it appeared to be very authentic, seemed just right for the period and the character of Keats.
From the pictures I've seen of how it used to look, it's a lot more subdued, less sumptuous and cluttered, much lighter in tone, less [for want of a better description] 'Victorian' than it used to be.

It was a strange experience, after all these years of reading of Keats and Wentworth Place and Fanny etc it was surprisingly pleasant to find how compact and homely the place seemed. I had always sort of imagined it to be a bit cold, featureless place but being there felt very natural, I felt very much at home, like I was in a place that had been lived in which I didn't really feel visiting the Keats-Shelley Memorial House in Rome. It was eerie also being in Keats parlour with the chairs arranged like Severn's famous painting and the little bookcases wondering at what angle he sat while reading. Did he turn over the page ends, did he use a bookmark, or scrap of paper to keep his place? Did he sit here once during his illness watching fanny walk by the window, unable to go to her?

You also get a sense being there of how maddening, how painful it must have been for both Keats and Fanny to be living cheek to jowl in that house with only walls between them, but the much thicker dictates of society separating them so.

Brown's parlour, like his bedroom also seems a bit more sumptuously appointed than Keats'. A nice touch also in here was the pictures of all Keats most important friends, relatives and correspondents on the wall.

Keats' bedroom itself [and this sounds cheesy but it's true] gave me a chill. Nothing unpleasant, I just felt a slight tinge walking in the room as passed the bed and reached the window as if I'd stepped over his grave somehow, disturbed his peace. It was a large enough room and sufficient but it can't have been easy to spend days weeks months there ill with such a nice view of the Hampstead and the heath from the window.

By the time I got back to the little gift shop near the entrance I signed the guestbook, bought some nice souvenirs and books and muttered some incoherent observations to the girl working there [and getting the address of this site confused HYPHEN NOT DASH!! :oops: ] I made my way into the garden and just sat there awhile under the veranda at the back of the house. Although obviously the House is in a much more built up area than it was in Keats' time, it was still a peaceful, serene abode. There were very few other visitors that afternoon and I felt privileged to be there and touched by it's humanity.

Oh and for those who do go, your ticket enables you to return for free for a period of a year after you bought it :D

Hope everyone enjoys the pictures.
"Oh what a misery it is to have an intellect in splints".
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Re: My visit to Keats House Hampstead, 10th Sept. '09.

Postby BrokenLyre » Mon Sep 21, 2009 7:07 am

Thank you so much Saturn - for your pictures and your descriptions as you toured the place. I can not describe how I felt as I looked at your pictures. Somehow I felt it was a dream, since I can never see myself getting there. Lord knows I really want to someday.
I will keep a copy of your pics on my computer - I'm afraid of losing them I guess. The day looked so beautiful - sun shining, shadows falling across the lawn. Did you hear any birds singing while there? What passages of Keats came to your mind?

Thank you for serving us Saturn. It means so much to me.
"Come... dry your eyes, for you are life, rarer than a quark and unpredictable beyond the dreams of Heisenberg; the clay in which the forces that shape all things leave their fingerprints most clearly. Dry your eyes... and let's go home."
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Re: My visit to Keats House Hampstead, 10th Sept. '09.

Postby Saturn » Mon Sep 21, 2009 8:44 am

No problem BrokenLyre I'm glad you enjoyed them.

It was quite a nice day warm [especially in the city and on the tube, but then it always is] but I couldn't help thinking of To Autumn, and when inside the house, particulary Keats' bedroom 'This living hand', imaging him lying in bed, feverish and pale perhaps writing it.

I don't remember seeing or hearing any birds unfortunately, perhaps if I had stayed a little longer in the garden but it was a long day and we had to go get something to eat and the house was near to closing for the day.
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Re: My visit to Keats House Hampstead, 10th Sept. '09.

Postby Saturn » Mon Sep 21, 2009 9:30 pm

One more picture, my souvenirs:

Image
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Re: My visit to Keats House Hampstead, 10th Sept. '09.

Postby BrokenLyre » Tue Sep 22, 2009 5:04 am

What can I say? I love you guys! Thanks for sharing with us all.
"Come... dry your eyes, for you are life, rarer than a quark and unpredictable beyond the dreams of Heisenberg; the clay in which the forces that shape all things leave their fingerprints most clearly. Dry your eyes... and let's go home."
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Re: My visit to Keats House Hampstead, 10th Sept. '09.

Postby SidewalkProphet » Wed Sep 23, 2009 12:22 pm

I can add that I did hear birdsong whilst sitting in the grounds waiting for Saturn to finish his shopping in the gift shop. It's truly a beautiful little place, well its not little but it feels intimate and cozy and a truly warm home. So many places like this lose that 'home' feeling when transformed into a museum or sorts but Keats House has managed to avoid that. I am not as big a keatsian as Saturn but even I felt something wandering through the rooms where he lived and loved. I recommend it to anyone and what a great deal your ticket being valid for a whole year. Would love to see the place covered with snow :)

Had it not been for Saturn I would never have gone there so thank you :) xxxx
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Re: My visit to Keats House Hampstead, 10th Sept. '09.

Postby BrokenLyre » Sun Sep 27, 2009 6:16 am

I do envy the opportunity you had there with Saturn. Someday I hope to go...
"Come... dry your eyes, for you are life, rarer than a quark and unpredictable beyond the dreams of Heisenberg; the clay in which the forces that shape all things leave their fingerprints most clearly. Dry your eyes... and let's go home."
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Re: My visit to Keats House Hampstead, 10th Sept. '09.

Postby Raphael » Mon Mar 15, 2010 12:25 am

Goodness knows how I missed your thread before Saturn- but lovely photos- thanks for sharing them. Is the room with the pink sofa and the Grandmother clock Brown's? I bet it doesn't tick anymore. I always feel sad seeing these lovely old clocks in period houses not ticking- it would so lend to the atmosphere.I have a thing abiut old clocks- I even have a reproduction chiming clock with a pendulum. It is above my fireplace with my candle sticks and portraits of our dear poet. I live in a Victorian house and the computer is really starting to look out of place!
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.

Peter Sanson, 1995.
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Re: My visit to Keats House Hampstead, 10th Sept. '09.

Postby Cybele » Mon Mar 15, 2010 9:05 pm

I missed these old posts, too!
Thank you so much for posting the pictures, Saturn. I hope to visit there, myself, someday.
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Re: My visit to Keats House Hampstead, 10th Sept. '09.

Postby Raphael » Fri Mar 19, 2010 7:04 pm

I was impressed how good they are on a mobile phone.
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.

Peter Sanson, 1995.
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Re: My visit to Keats House Hampstead, 10th Sept. '09.

Postby Saturn » Sat Mar 20, 2010 3:45 am

Well they were cleaned up a bit in photoshop but yeah they're okay it was a good camera I had on that phone.
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Re: My visit to Keats House Hampstead, 10th Sept. '09.

Postby Montmorenci » Sat Mar 20, 2010 2:42 pm

Saturn, I love the keepsakes that you bought. Is there anywhere else that anyone knows of how to purchase such things? I know there are places to buy posters, etc., but is the only place to buy the things shown above at the Keats house itself?
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Re: My visit to Keats House Hampstead, 10th Sept. '09.

Postby Raphael » Mon Mar 22, 2010 3:15 pm

Saturn wrote:Well they were cleaned up a bit in photoshop but yeah they're okay it was a good camera I had on that phone.


You are very modest! is the room with the clock and setee Brown's?
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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