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Keats and the Pre-Raphaelites

Inspired by the Sea

Keats and the Pre-Raphaelites book cover
Inspired by the Sea poetry anthology book cover
Miranda from The Tempest by John William Waterhouse. Oil on canvas, 1916.

Keats and the Pre-Raphaelites: a selection of poetry illustrated by Pre-Raphaelite artists and their successors

Edited by Eugenia and Quentin Russell


Illustrated in colour

Following his early death at the age of only 25, John Keats became one of the most influential poets of the 19th century, both for fellow poets and for artists. His quest for the ideal of poetic beauty led him to forge an original and powerful voice full of melancholy and a constant longing, which won him the adoration of his peers and of successive generations.

See inside Keats and the Pre-Raphaelites

Inspired by the sea: an anthology of poetry

Edited by Eugenia and Quentin Russell


The elemental nature of the sea and its changing moods has inspired poets since the earliest times. This selection of English and American poetry from Anglo-Saxon England through to the First World War covers the broad range of poetic responses to the sea - to its mythic qualities, its romance and the sheer exhilaration of being under sail, its challenges and perils, and the opportunity to use its mystery as a source of meditation and metaphor.


The spectrum of verse ranges from the pure joy of sailing expressed by the anonymous Anglo Saxon author of the Seafarer and John Masefield, Coleridge’s mystical Rime of the Ancient Mariner, to the lighter verse of Edward Lear and Lewis Carroll.


The poems are accompanied by a selection of black and white engravings, line drawings and paintings.

Sample spread from Inspired by the Sea poetry anthology. The Seafarer, By the Sea, Ariel's song.
Sample spread from Inspired by the Sea poetry anthology. Sonnet 65, Ariel's song, The Storm.
Sample spread from Inspired by the Sea poetry anthology. The Storm by John Donne.
Sample spread from Inspired by the Sea poetry anthology. On the Seas and Far Away and By the Sea.
A handsome spread from The Rime of the Ancient Mariner by Samuel Taylor Coleridge. Argument, Part I.


from Inspired by the Sea poetry anthology
John Keats

Sonnet: On the Sea (1817)

It keeps eternal whisperings around

Desolate shores, and with its mighty swell

Gluts twice ten thousand caverns, till the spell

Of Hecate leaves them their old shadowy sound.

Often ’tis in such gentle temper found

That scarcely will the very smallest shell

Be mov’d for days from whence it sometime fell,

When last the winds of heaven were unbound.

Oh ye! who have your eye-balls vex’d and tir’d,

Feast them upon the wideness of the Sea;

Oh ye! whose ears are dinn’d with uproar rude,

Or fed too much with cloying melody,--

Sit ye near some old cavern’s mouth, and brood

Until ye start, as if the sea-nymphs quir’d!

Our beautiful, illustrated gift books

Dimensions: 148 x 105 mm

The Nightingale in English Poetry

The Nightingale in English Poetry book cover

The Rose in Poetry

The Rose in Poetry book cover

Love Poetry

Love Poetry book cover

Who is your favourite poet?

For further details on the above titles see our Latest page (for Keats) and our Buy Books page.

Three beautiful poetry gift books

The Nightingale in English Poetry


52 pages, 4 colour and 5 black and white illustrations

Dimensions: 148 x 105 mm


The nightingale, noted for its sweet singing but undistinguished looks, has a long relationship with poetry. This book explores this through some of the best known and loved poets in the English language. Taking their inspiration from classical mythology they often address the nightingale by its Greek name ‘Philomela’. Sir Philip Sidney calls the nightingale ‘Philomela fair’ and Shakespeare speaks of her ‘mournful hymns’. The nightingale’s song is linked with human creativity and expression; in the words of Shelley: ‘A Poet is a nightingale who sits in darkness, and sings to cheer its own solitude with sweet sounds.’ In Keats’ celebrated Ode to a Nightingale the song of the nightingale opens a door for the poet to meditate on his sorrow following the death of his beloved brother, Tom. This volume also features the works of John Milton. John Clare and Christina Rossetti.



Love Poetry


52 pages, 9 colour illustrations

Dimensions: 148 x 105 mm


This volume combines iconic paintings such as The Kiss by Gustav Klimt with famous love poems including several much-loved sonnets. You will find here Shakespeare, Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Christina Rossetti, Shelley, Lord Byron’s ‘She Walks in Beauty’ and the lyrical ‘O my Luve is like a red, red rose’ by Robert Burns – among many more.


This small volume is ideal for literature and art lovers, and as a gift for somebody special!



The Rose in Poetry


36 pages, 10 colour illustrations

Dimensions: 148 x 105 mm


We often think of the rose as a symbol of love but this collection reveals that it can be so much more. In contrast to its association with love, beauty, purity and perfection, it is also used to signify the loss of romantic hope, crushed dreams, the evocation of beloved places and the passing of time and withering of youth. Reflecting on the budding rose the great Italian Renaissance poet Torquato Tasso wrote: ‘So, in the passing of a day, doth pass / The bud and blossom of the life of man’ (transl. Edward Fairfax).


Drawing on the works of poets as diverse as Horace and Shakespeare and the Bengali poet Rabindranath Tagore and W.B. Yeats, this collection, rich in metaphor and allusion, brings together a wealth of images where the rose, in the words of Christina Rossetti ‘sets the world on fire’. If you mourn The Last Rose of Summer with Thomas Moore and can imagine throwing a rose at a Pierrot with Sara Teasdale, admire Waterhouse’s two popular paintings entitled Gather ye Rosebuds and the botanical precision of the art of Pierre-Joseph Redouté, this is the book for you.

While many later poets acknowledged a debt to his poetic themes and form, and his reflections on the relationship between the real and ideal, his narrative poems – akin to Tennyson's later medieval poems – fuelled the imagination of a whole generation of artists.

From 'John Keats and the Pre-Raphaelites'

article in Art UK

Isabella by J.M. Strudwick

I am certain of nothing but the holiness of the heart's affections and the truth of imagination — what the imagination seizes as beauty must be truth — whether it existed before or not.


John Keats

letter to Benjamin Bailey, 22 November 1817

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