On 3 November 1816, Keats and Charles Cowden Clarke visit Benjamin Robert Haydon and have breakfast in his studio in Great Marlborough Street, underneath the huge unfinished canvas of Christ’s Entry into Jerusalem. In his Memoirs, Haydon wrote:
‘I read one or two of his sonnets, and formed a very high idea of his genius. After a short time I liked him so much that a general invitation on my part followed, and we became extremely intimate. He visited my painting- room at all times, and at all times was welcome.
‘He was below the middle size, with a low forehead, and an eye that had an inward look, perfectly divine, like a Delphian priestess who saw visions…
‘Keats was the only man I ever met with who seemed and looked conscious of a high calling, except Wordsworth.’
Note: There is no illustration to introduce today’s post: (a) the huge (3.96 x 4.57 metre) canvas was very incomplete, as it would take Haydon another four years to finish it, and (b) I have no idea what he would have served at a studio breakfast.
You can see the finished painting at:
Source of quotation
Alexander P D Penrose (ed) The Autobiography and Memoirs of Benjamin Robert Haydon (London: G Bell & Sons 1927) 217, 219