NEWS

News: 21 June 2018

Sir Ivor Roberts Appointed as New Chair of the Keats-Shelley Memorial Association
Harriet Cullen Steps Down After 22 Years as Chair

Sir Ivor Roberts, Britain’s former Ambassador to Rome, Dublin and Belgrade, and most recently President of Trinity College Oxford, has been appointed as the new Chair of the Keats-Shelley Memorial Association.

The Association cares for the house beside the Spanish Steps in Rome where John Keats died, and which is now a museum devoted to the English Romantic poets. The KSMA also runs the annual Keats-Shelley Prize and Young Romantics Prize for poetry and essay-writing, designed to foster interest in the Romantics. Sir Ivor takes over from Harriet Cullen, who has held the post for the last 22 years.

Sir Ivor says of his appointment: “I was honoured and delighted to be invited to assume the chairmanship of the KSMA, and particularly honoured to be following in the footsteps of Harriet Cullen (who has a personal  link with Keats as a descendant of the painter Joseph Severn, who nursed Keats in his dying days). Harriet’s contribution over so many years to the committee of the KSMA as its chair are and will remain unparalleled. I served on the Rome committee of the KSMA as a co-chair during my ambassadorial time in Rome, one of the few committees I’ve served on in recent years which I genuinely enjoyed. I look forward to enjoying my new responsibility and continuing to build on Harriet’s remarkable achievements.”

Sir Ivor also has a personal link to the House, since his mother spent the war years in Rome living immediately opposite it at the corner of the Via dei Condotti and Piazza di Spagna. “Although, as an Italian, her first love was Dante, she imbued in me a love of poetry in both languages,” he says. “And among the English language poets, the Romantics have for me always held prime position.”

About Sir Ivor Roberts, KCMG, FCIL

Sir Ivor Roberts is a former British diplomat. He was President of Trinity College Oxford from 2006-2017.

After reading Modern Languages at Oxford, where he was a Gomm scholar, he joined the British Diplomatic Service and was posted to Lebanon, France, Luxembourg, Australia and Vanuatu. He was thereafter successively Deputy Head of the Foreign Office Press department and Head of the Counterterrorism Department. He then served as Minister in the British embassy in Madrid before being posted to Belgrade, where he was Ambassador during the wars of Yugoslav succession in the 1990s. He returned from Belgrade to take a sabbatical year at St Antony’s college, Oxford. Thereafter he became British Ambassador in Dublin in the immediate wake of the Good Friday agreement before his last posting as British Ambassador to Italy. After retirement from the Diplomatic Service, he was elected President of Trinity College Oxford. From 2007-2012, Sir Ivor was Chairman of the Council of the British School of Archaeology and Fine Arts at Rome. He is a Patron of the Venice in Peril Fund. He is a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Linguists.

His book on his Balkan experiences, Conversations with Milošević, was published in 2016. He is also editor of and a major contributor to both the 6th (2009) and 7th (2016) editions of the classic work Satow’s Diplomatic Practice, the Bible for diplomats worldwide.

His interests include Italian opera, theatre, photography and sport (skiing and golf). For many years a rugby referee, he is currently President of Oxford University Rugby Football Club.

Recent News

Keats-Shelley200: Blue Apple Theatre production of Frankenstein

Read More

2021 Keats-Shelley and Young Romantics Prize Shortlists

Read More

Mark Wallinger in conversation on the Keats-Shelley Podcast

The Turner Prize-winning artist talks about his love of John Keats, Rome, and their influence on his monumental work Writ in Water

Read More

Helen McCrory: A Tribute

We remember the acclaimed actress and poetry lover who died last week

Read More

Frankenstein: A Keats-Shelley200 Collaboration with Blue Apple Theatre

Read More

Keat-Shelley House Closed to the Public from 15 MarchThe museum's online tours, exhibitions and events are still open

Read More

23rd February 2021: 200 Years After John Keats’ Death

Relive a day of poetry and rememberance

Read More

2021’s Keats-Shelley and Young Romantics Prizes - Deadline Extension12 April 2021 is the new date

Read More

Sir Bob Geldof: The Keats-Shelley House Virtual Tour Guide Sir Bob will also narrate 'The Death of John Keats'

Read More