Rome: Keats-Shelley House launches digital archive

Rome museum puts rare collections of the Romantic poets online.

The Keats-Shelley House Museum and Library in Rome has launched its new digital collections of manuscripts and art celebrating the lives and works of the Romantic poets John Keats and Percy Bysshe Shelley.

The launch of the museum's new website and online collection coincides with the start of Keats-Shelley 200, a three-year programme of events, exhibitions and activities in the UK and Italy in celebration of the poets' extraordinary works.

For the first time the museum's significant collection of some 400 autograph manuscripts, as well as art works and relics pertaining to the world's greatest romantic poets, can be enjoyed online.

Highlights of the digital collections include letters written by Keats in which the poet references defining moments of his career, including his most famous poem, Endymion, and his admiration for Wordsworth.

Poignantly, the manuscripts also include a letter written on 27 February 1821 by the artist Joseph Severn, who nursed Keats through his final months alive in Rome, in which Severn records the poet's last spoken words.

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Other highlights include portraits of Keats, Shelley and Byron, Mary Shelley's travel writing desk, and a small number of physical remains of Keats and Shelley that have been preserved over the last two centuries.

The digital collection and online experience has been curated by Dr Giuseppe Albano MBE, curator of the Keats-Shelley House and Alessandra Giovenco, archivist at the British School at Rome.

Albano described the digital collection as an "exciting new resource" and said that the museum hopes to be able to reopen to the public on 18 May, in line with a further easing of the coronavirus lockdown restrictions in Italy.

For full details of the digital archive, as well as other new initiatives, see the KSH website.

Cover image courtesy of KSH: autograph letter sent from Rome by Joseph Severn, the artist who had travelled to Rome with Keats and cared for him until the end of his life, to a Mr Kirkup in England dated August 20 1833.

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Address Piazza di Spagna, 26, 00187 Roma RM, Italy

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Rome: Keats-Shelley House launches digital archive

Piazza di Spagna, 26, 00187 Roma RM, Italy