Keats House


February 23, 2021 marked the 200th anniversary of the death of the British poet, John Keats.  Many people view Keats as one of the best Romantic poets in the English language, which is remarkable since he only lived until the age of 25.  Some of his famous poems include “Ode to a Nightingale,” “Ode on a Grecian Urn,” and “Endymion.”

Today, two house museums commemorate the life of John Keats.  The first is the Keats House in Hampstead, which is in an area of London.  The second is the Keats-Shelley Memorial House in Rome, Italy, where Keats passed away.  I visited the Keats House in London in 2010.  Unfortunately, I do not remember it as vividly as I would have liked, but I do remember enjoying my visit.

Although known as Keats House today, the elegant home was called Wentworth Place during Keats’ lifetime.  Completed in 1816, the home was still brand new when Keats moved into it in 1818.  Today, the home’s rooms are connected as one unit, but during Keats’ day, the home contained two separate units divided by a wall.

What I remember most from my visit to Keats House was when the tour guide described the romance Keats had with his neighbor, Fanny Brawne.  While living in Wentworth, Keats lived with his friend, Charles Armitage Brown. Fanny Brawne moved into the unit next door not too long afterwards.  Five years younger than him, Keats soon fell in love with Fanny.  The two even became engaged.  You can see Fanny’s engagement ring on display at Keats House.

This stamp of John Keats was my souvenir from my visit to Keats House.

Sadly, Keats never did marry Fanny.  Initially, he planned to once he earned enough money, but then his health quickly deteriorated as tuberculosis ravaged his body and ultimately killed him.  In 1820, Keats moved to Rome to nurse his health, but it did not help.  Despite never marrying, most critics believe that Keats’ best work emerged while Fanny was his neighbor.  Heartbroken after Keats’ death, Fanny Brawne did not marry until 12 years later.

Unfortunately, Keats’ entire life was a tragedy.  His father died in an accident in 1804, when Keats was only 8 years-old, and his mother died in 1810 from tuberculosis.  Keats’ brother, Tom, also died young from tuberculosis, possibly spreading the disease to John during this time.  Although modern medicine can fight tuberculosis today, during Keats’ day, the disease was one of the chief causes of death.

If you enjoy sad, romantic films, then check out the 2009 film, Bright Star.  It was too depressing for me, but it portrays Keats’ romance and final days.

Sources and Further Reading

“About Keats.” Keats Foundation. (accessed April 30, 2021).

Bright Star. Directed by Jane Campion. London: BBC Films, 2009.

“The Engagement Ring Given by John Keats to Fanny Brawne.” European Romanticisms in Association. December 14, 2018. (accessed April 30, 2021).

“Fanny Brawne Biography & Facts.” English History. (accessed April 30, 2021).

“History of the House.” City of London. (accessed April 30, 2021).

“introducing John Keats and Keats 200.” Our City Together. (accessed April 30, 2021).

“John Keats: 1795-1821.” (accessed April 30, 2021).

“Keats House.” City of London. (accessed April 30, 2021).

“Keats House Hampstead.” Keats Foundation. (accessed April 30, 2021).

Keats, John. ”Endymion, Book I, [A Thing of Beauty is a Joy For Ever].” (accessed May 1, 2021).

Keats, John. “Ode on a Grecian Urn.” Poetry Foundation. (accessed May 1, 2021).

Keats, John. “Ode to a Nightingale.” Poetry Foundation. (accessed May 1, 2021).

“Online Tour of Keats House.” Our City Together. (accessed April 30, 2021).


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s