Towards the Bicentenary of John Keats's Death

Friday, January 29, 2021

As we approach the bicentenary of the poet John Keats's death in Rome on 23rd February 1821 we're thrilled to announce a series of innovative digital experiences from the Keats-Shelley House. 


Look out for a brand new online visitor experience: a Panoramic Tour of the Keats-Shelley House with a Live Guide. The online tour is available on our own platform for groups of up to 30 people at a time and can be booked through our websiteThe tour will be available from 23rd February and can be prebooked from today. 

This journey through our historic museum and the apartment where Keats died two centuries ago can be taken from the comfort of your home. While many museums have their own virtual tour, ours is designed to be enjoyed in the presence of one of our expert guides, who will lead you through the rooms of the House and answer your questions. We cherish the connection with our visitors and find that the experience of visiting the House is enhanced by a direct exchange with our guides. There may also be an opportunity to book your tour with the curator of the museum. 

The Panoramic Tour with a Live Guide is available for everyone to book and is particularly suitable for schools and universities as well as general audiences who want to know more about the romantic poets who lived in, and were inspired by, Italy, and to explore the rooms where John Keats spent the final fourteen weeks of his life. Tours may be booked in English, Italian, or Russian. 


This February we will also commemorate the bicentenary of Keats's death with the release of two immersive video experiences, both of them collaborations with legendary rock star, philanthropist, and Keats-Shelley200 Ambassador Bob Geldof.

On 8th February an Immersive Video Tour of the Keats-Shelley House with Bob Geldof will be premiered, and will serve as a trailer for the museum and for a series of immersive video stories which will be launched on the anniversary of Keats's death. Best enjoyed with a VR headset, but accessible also in Ultra HD on a regular screen on our YouTube channel and on our website, the tour takes you through the Keats-Shelley House and gives you a sensation of physically being in the museum. If taking the tour on a regular screen you can watch it as a straight video from start to finish, or move around the rooms to explore things that interest you. 

On 23rd February the bicentenary of Keats's death in Rome, we'll premiere 'The Death of Keats' narrated by Bob Geldof. This will be an innovative immersive video story (again, best enjoyed with a VR headset but fully accessible without) recounting, through readings from letters, Keats's trip to Italy, his time in the House, and his death. This will be the first in a series of video stories from the Keats-Shelley House to mark the bicentenaries of Keats's and Shelley's deaths.


Moreover, on the 200th anniversary of Keats's death the poem 'Bright Star', written for Fanny Brawne, his fiancée, will be recited by a virtual Keats from the room where he died beside the Spanish Steps. This exciting project was commissioned by the Keats-Shelley Memorial Association from the Institute for Digital Archaeology in Oxford.

As Keats died too young and still too unknown to have had many portraits painted, the virtual Keats has been modelled on two miniature paintings and a plaster of Paris death mask, which was scanned hundreds of times to create a 3D image. Join us on 23rd February to see and hear Keats read from the Keats-Shelley House


Visitors will also be able to enjoy the exhibition 'Gusto' by British artist Nancy Cadogan. You can watch a preview of the exhibition here.


Moreover, we are glad to tell you that our annual poetry prize for schools is now available. For more information, please download the form here. FYI, this year we can also accept entries via email.


For new immersive exciting videos, please follow our YouTube channel.