Keats ‘crowned with flowers’ in tribute at poet’s Hampstead home
Flowers from John Keats’ graveside in Rome and his home in Hampstead form part of a unique indoor art installation at Keats House, which reopens later this month.
Created by London-based artist, Elaine Duigenan, as part of the ‘Keats200‘ commemoration to mark the bicentenary of his death, the floral tributes around the house provide a beautiful and visually engaging series of portraits.
Flowers played a key role in Keats’s life story: he studied for four years as an apothecary at a time when plants were essential for medical treatment, but left his surgical training to follow his passion for poetry, which is filled with floral metaphor.
Keats longed for recognition and feared dying in obscurity and before he died at the age of 25, Keats told his friend, Joseph Severn, that he could already feel the daisies growing over him.
Subject to the Government’s COVID-19 roadmap, Keats House is expected to reopen to the public on selected days from Monday 17 May – please check by visiting www.cityoflondon.gov.uk/keats or calling 020 7332 3868.
Artist Elaine Duigenan said:
“Flowers are embedded in John Keats’s life story and are a vehicle for expressing something both transitory and lasting, and my installation seeks to honour his legacy by alluding to human frailty and resilience.
“As an artist, I understand both the desire for recognition and the fear of leaving no mark, so I have crowned him laureate and wreathed him as though for oblivion.”
Chair of the City of London Corporation’s Culture, Heritage and Libraries Committee, Wendy Hyde, said:
“One of the major aims of the Keats200 bicentenary has been to bring the life and works of Keats to contemporary audiences, and to inspire new creative works.
“Elaine’s artwork connects us emotionally with the beauty and sadness in Keats’s letters and poems, allowing us to experience his life and writing in a way which is powerfully meaningful to us today.”
The City of London Corporation, which owns and manages Keats House, is the fourth largest funder of heritage and cultural activities in the UK and invests over £130m every year.
In partnership with the Barbican, Guildhall School of Music & Drama, London Symphony Orchestra, and Museum of London, the City Corporation is leading the development of Culture Mile between Farringdon and Moorgate, a multi-million-pound initiative to create a new cultural and creative destination for London.
Notes for Editors:
Artist in Residence 2020 at Keats House, Elaine Duigenan, and the City of London Corporation’s Principal Curator of Keats House, Rob Shakespeare, are available for media interview. Please contact Andrew Buckingham (see below) for further details.
Andrew Buckingham, Media Officer, City of London Corporation
Tel: 07795 333060 / email email@example.com
About the City of London Corporation:
The City of London Corporation is the governing body of the Square Mile dedicated to a vibrant and thriving City, supporting a diverse and sustainable London within a globally-successful UK. www.cityoflondon.gov.uk
About Keats House:
Keats House, where the poet lived from 1818 to 1820, uses items from the Keats House collection to tell the story of his life and works. Keats House is provided by the City of London Corporation, as part of its cultural contribution to London and the nation.
Keats House is situated at Keats Grove, Hampstead, London, NW3 2RR. Telephone 020 7332 3868. Email firstname.lastname@example.org – follow us on Facebook at /keatshousemuseum and on Twitter at @keatshouse / www.cityoflondon.gov.uk/keats Instagram:Keatshousemuseum
About the Keats200 bicentenary programme:
The Keats200 bicentenary is a celebration of Keats’s life, works and legacy, beginning in December 2018 through to February 2021, and beyond. It is led by three major partners – Keats House, Hampstead, The Keats Foundation and the Keats-Shelley Memorial Association – and is open to all individuals and organisations who have an interest in Keats or poetry. The bicentenary of Keats’s most productive years as a poet, and the period when he found inspiration, friendship and love, is an exciting opportunity to (re)discover and enjoy his works as well as engage with poetry and its ongoing relevance to us all today.
About Elaine Duigenan
Elaine Duigenan is an artist working with objects and still life. Her work is held in national collections including the V&A and the MFA Houston, TX. Her gallery is Klompching in New York.
During 2020, she was Artist in Residence at Keats House, Hampstead, drawing inspiration from the garden at Keats House and Hampstead Heath. The work created during her residency will be used during the Keats200 bicentenary programme to connect us all with the events and themes of 200 years ago. Her installation at Keats House has been made possible thanks to public funding from the National Lottery through Arts Council England.
There is a dedicated ‘behind the scenes’ website with small films, texts and images: https://elained.myportfolio.com available for the media.
Tel: 07860 693886