Keats 200th anniversary event at City of London Guildhall

Keats Anniversary Lecture and première of Keats songs – listen to the recordings!

This year has been special for Keatsians, being the 200th anniversary of John Keats’ death in Rome, 23 February 1821, aged 25. In recognition of this, Keats Foundation (which is partnered in the Keats 200 programme with Keats House in Hampstead and the Keats-Shelley Memorial Association) presented on 1st November three events at Guildhall, City of London. Keats Foundation is grateful to the City of London for its partnership in support of these events.

The first event was the Keats Anniversary Lecture, given by Professor Nicholas Roe, Chair of Keats Foundation and acclaimed biographer of Keats. His lecture, ‘John Keats and the London Cavalry’, can be watched through this link:

The second was the commissioning by Keats Foundation of four short Songs in which some well-known lines of John Keats have been set to music by Emily Hall, a talented young British composer. The première of these songs followed the Keats Anniversary Lecture; they were performed by three gifted singers, Ben Rowarth, Paul Bentley-Angell and Chris Lombard. The text is from:
Life is but a day,
A thing of beauty is a joy forever,
Keats’s Epitaph,
Shed no tear.

Four Keats Songs by Emily Hall

The songs were preceded by a reading of ‘Ode on a Grecian Urn’ by medical student, Fiyinfoluwa Oladipo.

Ode on a Grecian Urn read by Fiyinfoluwa Oladipo

The third initiative announced on 1st November was the intention to commission from a prominent sculptor a head and shoulders Bust of John Keats to be located very near to where it is believed he was born on 29 October 1795 at the Swan and Hoop Livery Stables (since demolished) in Moorgate in the City of London. A competition to identify the artist will be launched very shortly and a fundraising campaign to pay for the commission will be held. If you would like to receive by email a periodic update on progress with the bust proposal, or perhaps make a contribution to the Keats Foundation appeal, please contact Bob Hall, Keats Foundation trustee and treasurer, through