On Sunday 27 December 1818, Keats dined with the painter Benjamin Robert Haydon at Lisson Grove, and handed over £30 (which he had borrowed from his publisher for the purpose). Haydon was expecting rather more.
Keats wrote to his brother George: ‘I looked over a Book of Prints taken from the fresco of the Church at Milan, the name of which I forget — in it are comprised Specimens of the first and second age of art in Italy. I do not think I ever had a greater treat out of Shakspeare. Full of Romance and the most tender feeling — magnificence of draperies beyond any I ever saw, not excepting Raphael’s. But Grotesque to a curious pitch — yet still making up a fine whole — even finer to me than more accomplish’d works — as there was left so much room for Imagination.’
[The prints were actually of the fresco at the Camposanto at Pisa. Images from them would appear throughout the next poem he wrote: ‘The Eve of St Agnes’.]