A message from the Curator of the Keats-Shelley House
The Keats-Shelley House in Rome is a museum and library dedicated to the second-generation English romantic poets who lived in, and were inspired by, Italy, and housed in the final home of John Keats.
The historic core of the building contains the library, exhibition space, and the apartment rented by John Keats and the artist Joseph Severn in 1820-1821. On display there is a fine collection of paintings and portraits, busts and miniatures, relics and first editions, literary manuscripts and letters from our permanent collection, and we have a year-round programme of cultural events, academic conferences, and temporary exhibitions.
The House attracts some 25,000 visitors a year from all over the world, and welcomes around four hundred visiting school groups annually. Many visitors combine their visit to the House with a visit to Rome’s Non-Catholic Cemetery, where the graves of Keats, Shelley, and others connected with their circle may be seen.
We work hard to maintain our historic building in the heart of Rome, and through our ongoing programme of maintenance repairs, improvements, and restorations to the interior and exterior of the House, we are able to secure the building’s future. In recent years we have also made some outstanding new acquisitions to the collection, including the earliest extant manuscript of Keats’s poem ‘In drear nighted December’ and a copy of the poems of Anacreon given as a gift and inscribed to Byron by Leigh Hunt. Our temporary exhibitions programme has also flourished with loans coming from major institutions, and our next challenge is to make digitally available all of the items in our museum collection so that scholars and lovers of poetry worldwide may access them.
All of this requires funds, but as a British museum abroad we receive no public funding from the UK and must rely on the generosity of supporters and on revenue from visitors. In order to safeguard the museum’s longevity and prosperity, we always warmly welcome donations, which, however, large or small, will see that future generations continue to enjoy and to learn from the Keats-Shelley House.