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session executed in a more transparent medium than the original in Sir Charles Dilke's hands,—a medium lending itself peculiarly to the method employed. Severn also painted the same composition in oils, half life-size, for Mr. Moxon, of course long after Keats's death; and this picture is now the property of Mr. George P. Boyce.
The charcoal sketch which forms the frontispiece to Volume III of this edition was the earliest of Severn's drawings of Keats from the life. It was engraved as long ago as 1828 for Leigh Hunt's Lord Byron and Some of his Contemporaries; but, as Severn wrote to me that he considered the plate used by Hunt a caricature, I was glad of the opportunity to give a fac-simile by the photointaglio process from the original drawing now in the Forster Collection at the South Kensington Museum. I have had it printed on paper like that of the original; and if the oval were surrounded by mount instead of an engraved line and plate-mark, it would need an expert to discover that he had not the original drawing before him.
Severn's last sketch of Keats was that drawn in Indian ink on the 28th of January 1821, given as a frontispiece. to Volume IV, from a plate etched by Mr. W. B. Scott. The drawing is, I believe, in the hands of Mr. Edgar Drummond.
The frontispiece to Volume II is from a chalk drawing by Hilton, which was published by Messrs. Taylor and Walton of Upper Gower Street in 1841. It was unquestionably done from the life; and it is possible that Hilton may have done other life sketches of Keats, whom he was in the habit of meeting at the house of their mutual friend John Taylor, Keats's publisher.
The large profile head given opposite page 44 of Volume III is a sketch for the portrait of Keats intro
duced by Haydon into his great picture of Christ's Entry into Jerusalem, now in the Museum at Philadelphia. This pen sketch was drawn in Haydon's Journal in November 1816; and the lower part of another page of the Journal, of which a fac-simile is given opposite page 64 of Volume III, shows the attitude of the figure which the head was intended to surmount, and explains the meaning of the line passing diagonally from the chin in the large profile,—a line which would scarcely otherwise be taken for that of the shoulder and upper part of the
Besides these portraits there is a mask of Keats believed to have been moulded from the life by Haydon, and certainly taken in plaster by some one, during Keats's life-time. Mrs. Llanos considers it a more satisfactory representation of her brother than any of the portraits; and in some respects it has certainly a far higher value and interest. Notwithstanding the constraint of the muscles under the discomfort of the operation, and the loss of expression through the closing of the eyes, this cast is priceless as recording the actual bone and muscle structure of Keats's face and forehead. The low forehead we have heard so much about turns out to be a forehead of splendid capacity and modelling -low, it is true, and receding, but broad and massive, and showing a fine and expressive arch. The structure. of the face is altogether extremely fine; and I regret that I have not been able on the present occasion to give a perfect representation of it. The late Dante Gabriel Rossetti had one of the casts from the mask, and had promised to place it at my disposal for the purposes of this edition; but his premature death intervened. I am indebted to Señor Juan Keats y Llanos, the poet's nephew, for a beautiful painting in grisaille done from the
mask in Spain, disposed in a favourable light; but this painting does not lend itself to mechanical reproduction. At a late stage in the preparation of my volumes, I obtained the loan of another example of the mask from Mr. Philip Bourke Marston; and have been able to get some reproductions that serve certain purposes of illustration, while rendering the original in a somewhat unsympathetic manner and not preserving the higher beauties of it as seen in the round.
The purpose which the mask serves for the present is that of testing the outline value of the several portraits, to which end I have had it reproduced in their respective positions.
Taking it first in the position of the Haydon profile of November 1816, it will be found that that bold and masterly sketch stands the test well, although the mask corrects the angularity of the upper lip in the pen-sketch, and shows a more marked massiveness of nose, while of course giving no sign of the intense eagerness of the fixed eye which is the central idea of Haydon's conception.
Hilton's chalk sketch, given in Volume II, doubtless renders the general appearance and expression of Keats in a moment of sickness and something of constraint, and has its own particular charm; but the mouth and hair are conventionalized, the chin a little exaggerated, and the nose pinched. This last point of comparison with the mask is not to be accounted for on the ground that Keats was out of condition; for he was clearly in much better health than when Severn did the last sketch, in which the nose of the dying man is not nearly so pinched.
Severn's charcoal sketch probably has more of the spirit and general expression of Keats in or about 1817: