John Keats museum reopens

One of the original copies of the death mask of British poet John Keats taken in Rome a few days after his death in 1821, is seen in a glass case in his bedroom at the newly-refurbished Keats House, in north London.Lefteris Pitarakis / AP
/ Source: The Associated Press

The London house where John Keats wrote some of his most famous poems is to reopen this week after a 500,000 pound ($800,000) renovation, city officials said Wednesday.

Keats lived in the house near leafy Hampstead Heath between 1818 and 1820, writing "Ode on a Grecian Urn" and "Ode to a Nightingale" there. He also courted the girl next door, Fanny Brawne, who became the love of his short life.

The house has been a museum since 1925, but was closed for refurbishment in 2007. It reopens Friday, restored to its original decor and with displays of prints, drawings and the engagement ring the poet gave Brawne.

Michael Welbank, chairman of the City of London's Hampstead Heath management committee, said the house and garden had been restored "to a living environment that John Keats would have recognized almost 200 years ago."

Keats died of tuberculosis at 25 in 1821, obscure and out of fashion, but was later recognized as one of the greatest Romantic poets.

A film by Jane Campion about the poet's relationship with Brawne, "Bright Star," premiered to acclaim at the Cannes Film Festival in May.