Keats House at Christmas

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Keats House at Christmas

Postby toots » Sun Dec 20, 2009 6:24 pm

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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.

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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.

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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. :wink: The entrance fee gives free entry for a whole year so I will definitely try to return.

Best wishes for a happy holiday season!
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Re: Keats House at Christmas

Postby Malia » Mon Dec 21, 2009 2:05 am

You are so fortunate to live in London so you can visit Keats House on a regular basis :) Thanks so much for your photos--I didn't take any pics inside because they told me not to and also I thought I'd surely get caught on one of the security cameras if I did chance it and then be chucked out of Keats House! :lol:

Beautiful views--and you are right, the rooms do feel like "chamber music". I can't wait to visit again and really spend some time there. I hope they keep the house open *all day* on a few days--4 hours was just not enough time to drink it all in properly.
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Re: Keats House at Christmas

Postby mevans » Mon Dec 21, 2009 2:26 am

Thank you for posting the pictures and for your lovely description of your visit. We economically challenged Americans appreciate any postings on Keatsian landmarks.

Happy Holidays! :D
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Re: Keats House at Christmas

Postby toots » Mon Dec 21, 2009 10:33 am

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This is a table set up in the basement kitchen. I think it is meant to be a meal that might be eaten around Christmas time. The newspaper on the right hand side of the table is a copy of 'The Examiner' and the food includes bread, fruit and oysters.

It almost feels like the house is still lived in when you see something like this. You can really imagine people eating, sleeping, cooking, gossiping, worrying. arguing etc here.

I'm lucky that my camera can handle most interiors without the use of flash so I was able to take a few photos inside the house.
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Re: Keats House at Christmas

Postby BrokenLyre » Tue Dec 22, 2009 8:09 am

Wow! I just saw these pics! Thank you toots. I so enjoyed these - and coupled with Malia's pics I feel as though I have visited. Mevans is right: We Americans are disadvantaged in a number of ways when it comes to Keats House. Thanks for pics - I'm saving them.
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Re: Keats House at Christmas

Postby Saturn » Tue Dec 22, 2009 8:39 am

Your Library of Congress does hold a lot of Keats poems and letters though courtesy of George :mrgreen:
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Re: Keats House at Christmas

Postby Malia » Tue Dec 22, 2009 2:40 pm

It is interesting how many Keats artifacts are scattered around the U.S. at various Universities and libraries. Keats is, I think, almost as beloved by Americans as he is by the British. George did a lot to spread his fame in these parts.
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Re: Keats House at Christmas

Postby Saturn » Tue Dec 22, 2009 4:22 pm

I would even go so far as to say that he is, like many great poets, even more appreciated elsewhere than in his home country.
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Re: Keats House at Christmas

Postby Raphael » Tue Dec 22, 2009 5:28 pm

Saturn wrote:I would even go so far as to say that he is, like many great poets, even more appreciated elsewhere than in his home country.


Well here is one proud Brit who adores him! When I did the literature course in the 90s and we did the Odes, his poems were well recived and the tutor really liked him, you could tell! :D

Thanks Toots for the lovely photos. I was wondering if there was only the one kitchen at the time and if JK would have shared it with the Dilkes/Brawnes- do you know?
John....you did not live to see-
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what it is we are in what we make of you.

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Re: Keats House at Christmas

Postby toots » Mon Dec 28, 2009 6:21 am

There were two kitchens: one for the Brawnes and one for Brown and the Dilkes plus some communal storage areas. The kitchens were small but well-equipped. I think the bread oven was a later addition. What you can see in the photo was believed to be a small dining area in the basement next to the kitchens.
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Re: Keats House at Christmas

Postby Raphael » Tue Dec 29, 2009 4:50 pm

toots wrote:There were two kitchens: one for the Brawnes and one for Brown and the Dilkes plus some communal storage areas. The kitchens were small but well-equipped. I think the bread oven was a later addition. What you can see in the photo was believed to be a small dining area in the basement next to the kitchens.


Thanks for that info! I wonder who cooked for CB and JK? I can't imagine CB being able to cook! ( though JK might have as he cooked for his mother) :lol:
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: Keats House at Christmas

Postby Credo Buffa » Wed Jan 13, 2010 6:16 pm

These are beautiful photos, toots! Thank you!
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