I took the opportunity of a few free hours this weekend to pay a visit to Keats House in Hampstead. We have had snow here for the past two days and as well as wanting to get out of the house, it was a chance to see Wentworth Place in the snow.
I am so very glad I went. This was my first visit since the renovation. My last visit was many years ago, but I do remember the intimacy of the museum and it has always been a favouritemuseum of mine. The renovations are beautifully done with delicate wallpapers and subtle colours. Despite there being a number of other visitors, I still felt that it was like walking into the home of friends. Visiting the house is like listening to a piece of chamber music by Haydn or Mozart with contrasting movements with the slightly different moods in each room. There are the more public spaces like the parlours with portraits of Keats and his circle contrasted with the quiet bedrooms and then we have the kitchens in the basement which must have seen a lot of activity over the Christmas season.
Several rooms had Christmas decorations as seen below and a musician was giving a lecture in the Chester Room on historic musical instruments that were played in Regency times.
I enjoyed seeing costumes from 'Bright Star' on display in a small exhibition. This is the view from Fanny's bedroom with the garden looking a bit desolate in the snow. I kept thinking of the lines from 'La belle dame sans merci' with the sedge being withered from the lake and no birds singing.
I'm glad to see that the house is seeing a rise in popularity. They have extended the opening hours to cope with the extra demand. I'm not a Lottery fan, but if the Lottery Fund continues to fund projects like this, I might be tempted buy the very occasional ticket.
The entrance fee gives free entry for a whole year so I will definitely try to return.
Best wishes for a happy holiday season!