The Life and Letters of Joseph Severn
The novelist and mystic William Sharp (1855-1905) wrote or edited around fifty books, both in his own name and under the pseudonym of Fiona MacLeod. An introduction to Dante Gabriel Rossetti in 1881 led to his publishing a study of the poet and artist in the following year. Appointed as London art critic of the Glasgow Herald in 1883, he went on to make many more distinguished acquaintances. Originally published in 1892, this work concerns another keeper of illustrious contacts: Joseph Severn (1793-1879), painter and British consul at Rome, who is best remembered for his close friendship with John Keats. As biographer, Sharp utilises Severn's vast though occasionally inconsistent correspondence, tracing his life from his youth, through his years of intimacy with Keats, to his death and eventual burial at the great poet's side.