The face of Keats

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

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Re: The face of Keats

Postby Raphael » Sat Jun 05, 2010 3:55 pm

Ennis wrote:Raphael:

His face in words -- lovely!!


And such a sweet face 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.

Peter Sanson, 1995.
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Re: The face of Keats

Postby Ennis » Sat Jun 05, 2010 4:18 pm

Raphael --

oh, yes, it surely is!!
"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: The face of Keats

Postby Ennis » Sat Jun 05, 2010 4:23 pm

I'm getting quite a thrill scrolling very quickly down those posted pictures and then BAM, there's that gorgeous, life-sized (or so it seems ) mask. Be still my beating heart. Makes me want to go right home (I'm at school - kids're at lunch) and just stand in front of my copy of the mask (hanging, of course, on my shrine wall) and stare at him for minutes upon minutes upon minutes . . .
"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: The face of Keats

Postby Raphael » Sat Jun 05, 2010 5:10 pm

Ennis wrote:I'm getting quite a thrill scrolling very quickly down those posted pictures and then BAM, there's that gorgeous, life-sized (or so it seems ) mask. Be still my beating heart. Makes me want to go right home (I'm at school - kids're at lunch) and just stand in front of my copy of the mask (hanging, of course, on my shrine wall) and stare at him for minutes upon minutes upon minutes . . .


Have you noticed Ennis how much Joseph Severn's two drawings look like his life mask? The one from 1816 and the one I've got for my avatar? I have afeeling the one I have for my avatar is really him- I have printed this portrait out, framed it and put it on my mantlepiece- his eyes are so expressive, large and full of hidden depths- his whole expression is enigmatic and you feel he's watching you!

Here's a link so you can see him close up...

http://static.guim.co.uk/sys-images/Gua ... ts-001.jpg

It's one of my favourites of him.

Have you seen this sculpture of him?


http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4004/433 ... d4cb89.jpg

If he looked exactly like that I think I would have had difficulty breathing...

What's your favourite portrait of him?

Look what else I found:
http://www.google.com/imgres?imgurl=htt ... -oOJax1dYP
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: The face of Keats

Postby Ennis » Sat Jun 05, 2010 6:46 pm

Raphael --

I wasn't able to access the "farm5.static" site. I have to use the computer in my classroom because I don't have one at home, and Buncombe County Schools technology department blocks certain sites; I guess that's one of them. I was able to check out the others. I've seen the Severn drawing before, but not the sculpture! My gosh, it's breathtaking!! I printed it on our library's colour printer, as well as the article that accompanies it (although I haven't read it yet - sounds as if it may be quite depressing!).
As to my favourite pictures of Keats:
I like Brown's pencilled profile of Keats, completed, if I'm not mistaken, in Chichester in June of 1819. I like the way it captures that wonderful sometimes-quiet-and-sometimes-in-your-face-intensity Keats has. I like the way that fist is clenched pugnaciously under that jawline -- as if daring anyone or anything (including that damned consumption) to get the upper hand. I like the way his eyes are looking directly ahead, as if he's ready to confront any adversity, including a love that he knows will be dragged away from him by the hand of Death.
I also admire Severn's portrait of Keats reading in his sitting room. We know that's such a typical pose! Last summer, when my brother and I visited the National Portrait Gallery in London, I spent a "few" pounds on copies of both of those pictures and they are now framed and hanging on my shrine wall, near my copy of Haydon's life mask that I purchased at The House when I went to London in 1990.
And that brings me to my most favourite "picture" of Keats, if that's what it can be called: the life mask (the only good thing that came from Keats's friendship with the artist/moocher BR Haydon). How else can we REALLY know what he looks like!!
And finally, Severn's pencil/charcoal deathbed drawing. There are no adequate words in our language to express how I feel about that picture, so I'll leave it at that.
Oh, last summer, while in London, my brother and I went to Guy's Hospital and saw the statue there of Keats. He's sitting in a sweet little alcove of sorts with a closed book resting on his lap (finger, of course, marking his place), staring off into space, as he most likely did during lectures "back in the day"! I took pictures with my digital camera, but I have no clue how to get them from that chip-thing into a computer so you guys can take a look. As I've admitted before on another thread, I'm awfully computer stupid!!
"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: The face of Keats

Postby Raphael » Sat Jun 05, 2010 9:22 pm

It's so great that there is a statue of him at Guy's- I've seen photos of it but never been to the hospital. I hope to one day!
The article is not particuarly depressing- there is a fascinating little story behind the artist's inspiration to making her sculpture of our dear poet ... :wink:
I hadn't known about this before.
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: The face of Keats

Postby jesleeall » Thu Sep 16, 2010 2:40 pm

Question: I read somewhere - I think it was in Andrew Motions biography - that Severn made two deathbed portraits of John. One, of course, would be the one we're all so familiar with, but I've never seen the other one. Do any of you know anything about it?
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Re: The face of Keats

Postby Ennis » Fri Sep 17, 2010 8:26 pm

jesleeall wrote:Question: I read somewhere - I think it was in Andrew Motions biography - that Severn made two deathbed portraits of John. One, of course, would be the one we're all so familiar with, but I've never seen the other one. Do any of you know anything about it?



Oh, no!! But I wish did!.. if you find out ANYTHING about this, let us know. I have seen a reproduction of the pencil (I believe) sketch Severn made of Keats sitting (in life-jacket, no less!!) on board the Maria Crowther, but I'm totally unaware of a second "deathbed" portrait.
"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: The face of Keats

Postby jesleeall » Fri Sep 17, 2010 9:57 pm

Maybe the Maria Crowther picture is the one Motion meant. Is that the one that's shown on this forum, a profile of him reading?
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Re: The face of Keats

Postby Raphael » Fri Sep 17, 2010 11:20 pm

jesleeall wrote:Maybe the Maria Crowther picture is the one Motion meant. Is that the one that's shown on this forum, a profile of him reading?


The Maria crowther one shows him sitting in his greatcoat with boots on "reading"- but he looks as though he isn't really reading- like he is staring at the book but his mind is elsewhere, probaby on his beloved Miss Brawne he has left in Hampstead. It's a very sad, poignant drawing.
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: The face of Keats

Postby jesleeall » Fri Sep 17, 2010 11:52 pm

Here's where I found the mention of two deathbed portraits of Keats:

http://fds.oup.com/www.oup.com/pdf/13/9780199565023.pdf

and an excerpt:
But though we think of
Severn in a tragic place, he was by nature irrepressible. He reacted to his terrible
situation by taking out his fury on his landlady and ‘these wretched Romans’
with whom he had to negotiate his life in a language he barely understood. He
wrote gossipy letters home, full of comforting fictions about his artistic activities
and prospects. He played the piano in the room next to Keats’s, trying to cheer
them both with spirited performances of Haydn’s symphonies. And he read
aloud to the dying poet, even if he could not always keep his mind on the words
in front of him. Twice he sketched Keats, once, as he said, to keep himself awake
at night. It was then, too, that he wrote to Keats’s friends in London.
Breathless and uncalculating, Severn’s letters did not conceal his many
domestic anxieties nor his consciousness of his failings as a nurse. Out of the
clutter of his daily concerns, however, a compelling picture of Keats in his
last days emerged. Others might have told what they saw differently. Severn
lightened the grimness of the scene by his instinct for finding in Keats a quality
he had himself: kindness. As Keats’s world narrowed at the end, he turned to
comforting his comforter. That, at least, was how Severn described him in his
last exhausted days of suffering. Keats’s solicitude for his deathbed companion
and the grace of his dying words as recorded by Severn became an inseparable
part of the poet’s appeal to posterity.
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Re: The face of Keats

Postby Raphael » Sat Sep 18, 2010 9:11 pm

Thanks- that was interesting. I wonder what the "inaccuracies" were though.
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: The face of Keats

Postby Ennis » Mon Sep 20, 2010 5:06 pm

Raphael wrote:
jesleeall wrote:Maybe the Maria Crowther picture is the one Motion meant. Is that the one that's shown on this forum, a profile of him reading?


The Maria crowther one shows him sitting in his greatcoat with boots on "reading"- but he looks as though he isn't really reading- like he is staring at the book but his mind is elsewhere, probaby on his beloved Miss Brawne he has left in Hampstead. It's a very sad, poignant drawing.


Greatcoat?? I need to look at that picture more carefully when I get home!! I could have sworn he was wearing a life-jacket (how IRONIC if he was! I wish that was all that could have saved his life . . . ).
"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: The face of Keats

Postby Raphael » Mon Sep 20, 2010 11:23 pm

It looks like a big heavy coat to me and he has a blanket over his knees. I don't think they had life jackets in 1820.
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: The face of Keats

Postby fooshy » Thu Nov 03, 2011 3:52 pm

I'm a fan of the style as well, because it's so different from the others that we're used to seeing with it's really heavy lines and shading. Indeed, very dramatic and very modern. forest City HS Class of 1975
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