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Romantic Poets All-Occasion Cards

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British artist Amanda White has produced a series of notecards and holiday cards featuring her cut paper collages of historic houses of writers and poets. On the back of each card is printed a brief essay relating the dates the author lived in the house, what works were created there, and other information about the location, including what he or she loved about the setting and how it inspired creativity.  The entire descriptions from the back of each card are below.

Field Place, Sussex, and a Storm at Sea (Percy Bysshe Shelley)

This comfortable English country house, Field Place, near Horsham in West Sussex was the family seat of the Shelleys. It was in this unlikely aristocratic setting for a future social and political radical that Romantic poet Percy Bysshe Shelley was born, in 1792.  As an adult the rebellious Shelley, friend of Byron and Leigh Hunt, was estranged from his family and rarely visited his childhood home.  His second wife, Mary, was the author of Frankenstein. All his life Shelley had an affinity with water and boats — rowing, sailing, even paper boats.  In 1822, less than a month before his thirtieth birthday, he drowned in a sudden storm while sailing off the coast of Italy.

Far from the Madding Crowd (Thomas Hardy)

This secluded traditional cob and thatch cottage in Dorset, built by his grandfather, was home to novelist and poet Thomas Hardy from birth, in 1840, until he left home to work in an architect’s office in London.  For Hardy, the cottage at Higher Bockhampton and surrounding heathland formed the centre of his poetic universe.  He eventually returned, determined to become a writer and it was in this idyllic setting, in his small upstairs bedroom, he penned Under The Greenwood Tree and one of his best-loved works, Far From the Madding Crowd.

Summer Skies, Hampstead (John Keats)

Home to English Romantic poet John Keats between 1818 and 1820, and now the Keats House Museum, during his time the house was known as Wentworth Place.  For a London-born poet inspired by nature Wentworth Place was the ideal refuge, close enough to the city yet still rural.  It was surrounded by a pretty, well-kept garden but faced directly on to the romantic wilderness of Hampstead Heath.  And it was here he fell in love with his “bright star”, Fanny Brawne, and wrote some of his greatest poetry.

 A Melodious Plot (John Keats)

This pretty villa in the airy London suburb of Hampstead was the home of Romantic poet John Keats.  Now the Keats House Museum, it was originally a pair of semi-detached houses.  Here Keats wrote some of his greatest poetry, including his Ode to a Nightingale from which the title of this collage comes, and here he fell in love with and became engaged to Fanny Brawne, who lived with her mother in the other half of the house.  Worsening health eventually forced Keats to travel to Italy. Fanny’s diary entry for September 13 1820 is heartbreaking in its brevity: “Mr Keats left Hampstead”.  Just a few months later, aged 25, he died in Rome. (This card is 6” x 6”)

Albion in Sussex (William Blake)

Rose Cottage was home for just three years, from 1800 to 1803, to the visionary artist and poet, William Blake.  The cottage is in the village of Felpham, West Sussex. The area provided Londoner Blake with plenty of inspiration. It was, he said, “a sweet place…more spiritual than London”.  It was here he wrote his famous lines to the anthem Jerusalem. He and Catherine, his wife, were known for communing with nature in their gardens naked.  Catherine complained he was often absent, preoccupied by his visions.  “I have very little of Mr Blake’s company", she said.  “He is always in Paradise”.

Mine Own Countree (Samuel Taylor Coleridge)

In 1797 Romantic poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge and his wife Sara moved into this humble seventeenth century cottage in the village of Nether Stowey, Somerset. Although he only lived in what is now known as Coleridge Cottage for some three years, during that time he wrote much of his greatest poetry, including The Rime of the Ancient Mariner (from which the title of this picture comes), Kubla Khan and Frost at Midnight. He also collaborated with his friend William Wordsworth to produce Lyrical Ballads, regarded as the starting point for the English Romantic age.

Full Moon Over Allan Bank (William Wordsworth)

Romantic poet William Wordsworth was a keen horticulturalist and spent a lot of time in his gardens.  Here he is in the grounds of Allan Bank, the house in Grasmere, in the Lake District, to which the Wordsworth household reluctantly removed in 1808 after conditions at Dove Cottage became too cramped.  Here he lived for some two years with his wife, Mary, their three children, his sister Dorothy and sister-in-law Sara Hutchinson who was the object of fellow poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s deep and life-long crush.  Coleridge and Thomas de Quincey, another poet, were frequent long-stay visitors to Allan Bank.

Autumn Days (John Keats)

This pretty Regency house, Wentworth Place, now known as Keats House, was the home of Romantic poet John Keats between 1818 and 1820 when he shared part of it with his friend Charles Brown. For most of the time it was a place of happiness for Keats, it was where he wrote much of the poetry for which he is famous and where he first met and fell deeply in love with Fanny Brawne who lived with her mother and siblings in the other half of the villa.  In one of his letters to her he asked: “Do you hear the thrush singing over the field?”

Eight cards and envelopes, eight designs, blank inside: 5” x 7"

Artist’s note: “I love: folk art and history, Staffordshire pottery, old textiles and plates, gardens, broadsheet woodcuts, Blake, Douanier Rousseau, Kahlo, Alfred Wallis, Ravilious, Bawden, the Romantic movement, browsing in books, mooching in museums, Sussex, old buildings, cats, the sea... Exhibitions include group and solo shows in the UK, Spain, and New York.”


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