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John Keats

Photo credit: National Portrait Gallery, London

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The poet Keats developed his natural gifts for language and imagery and, in a tragically short career, became a mature and reflective poet. One of the second generation of Romantic poets, he is best known for the series of great odes that includes To a Nightingale (1819). He died of tuberculosis in Rome in 1821.
Severn, who had nursed his friend in Rome, described the circumstances recreated in this posthumous portrait: 'This was the time he first fell ill & had written the Ode to the Nightingale on the morning of my visit to Hampstead. I found him sitting with the two chairs as I have painted him & was struck with the first real symptoms of sadness in Keats so finely expressed in that poem.'

National Portrait Gallery, London

London


Date

1821–1823, dated 1821

Medium

oil on canvas

Measurements

H 56.5 x W 41.9 cm

Accession number

58

Acquisition method

Given by S. Smith Travers, 1859

Work type

Painting


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Normally on display at

National Portrait Gallery, London

St Martin’s Place, London, Greater London WC2H 0HE England

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