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What Is Keats House?

John Keats was a notable Romantic poet.
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  • Written By: Dee S.
  • Edited By: Jenn Walker
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  • Last Modified Date: 15 September 2014
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Keats House is a museum and former home of a 19th-century poet named John Keats. It is located in the Hampstead neighborhood of London, England, and is open to visitors for a modest fee. Although Keats only lived in the house for a short period of time, it was the place where he wrote many of his popular poems, such as "Ode to a Nightingale" and "La Belle Dame sans Merci." As a museum, the Keats House is a place where many of his original works and artifacts have been preserved. It also gives visitors the opportunity to see the styles that were common during the time that Keats lived at the home, as it has been restored to show the original design of both the home and the garden.

Originally constructed in 1815, the Keats House was actually divided into two separate living quarters that were owned by two individuals, Charles Dilke and Charles Brown. Keats was invited to live with Charles Brown after Keats' brother died of tuberculosis in 1818. Keats only lived in the home until 1820, when he left for Rome in the hopes of curing his own tuberculosis. He died in 1821 at the age of 25.

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As the Keats House now stands, it is no longer divided into two living establishments, but is one single house. This change in designed occurred in the mid-1800s, when a new owner purchased both halves of the house. Consequently, when visitors to Keats House tour the museum, it is not exactly as it was when Keats lived there.

The Keats House has much of the original interior design. Through delicate restoration, many of the rooms have been returned to their original colors. For example, Keats' bedroom was discovered to be pink in color, and it has been returned to the same color by skilled designers. Many of the other rooms are also similar to how they were when Keats lived there, such as the parlor where he worked on his poetry. The garden at the Keats House has also been restored to mimic how it may have looked when Keats lived at the house, complete with the original mulberry tree.

Beyond interior and landscaping designs, the Keats House also contains large amounts of memorabilia from Keats and the others who lived at the house. Many people are interested to see the engagement ring that Keats gave to his neighbor, a girl named Fanny Brawne, for instance. Visitors can also see a selection of original works, letters, prints, paintings, and books belonging to Keats. Other interesting artifacts on display include a tea caddy from Charles Brown, a locket containing the hair of Keats, and a ribbon belonging to Fanny Brawne.

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