200 years ago, Keats attended Haydon’s ‘Immortal Dinner’

On Sunday 28 December 1817, Keats attended The ‘Immortal Dinner’ given by the painter Benjamin Robert Haydon in his studio. Wordsworth was guest of honour. They drank a toast ‘Newton’s health, and confusion to mathematics.’

Keats described the evening to his brothers:
“there was Wordsworth, Lamb, Monkhouse, Landseer, Kingston and your humble servant. Lamb got tipsy and blew up Kingston — proceeding so far as to take the candle across the room, hold it to his face, and show us what a soft fellow he was. I astonished Kingston at supper with a pertinacity in favour of drinking, keeping my two glasses at work in a knowing way.”

John Keats: parts of a letter to George and Tom Keats, Monday 5 January 1818.
John Kingston was ‘Comptroller of Stamps’ in the tax office, and effectively Wordsworth’s line-manager in his duties as ‘Distributor of Stamps’ (= tax-collector) for Westmoreland.
Thomas Monkhouse (1783-1825) a merchant, was a cousin of Mrs Wordsworth.
John Landseer (1768-1832) was a painter.

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