The Romantic poet Keats is being 'brought back to life' for the 200th anniversary of his death by experts including those from Oxford’s Institute for Digital Archaeology.

On February 23, the bicentenary, staff from the IDA, led by director Roger Michel, will join a UK team of linguists, curators and physicists to commemorate the poet.

The team has used research-informed Computer Generated Imagery to try to capture what Keats looked like.

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The CGI Keats will be as close to the original as modern technology can get.

Not only is his appearance being resurrected by animators but his voice, diction, and clothing will also be meticulously recreated by a dedicated team of experts.

The bicentennial celebrations are being coordinated by the Keats-Shelley Memorial Association, which commissioned the virtual Keats from the IDA.

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Mr Michel, the IDA’s executive director who did much of the research that has brought Keats back to life, said: “Capturing his appearance was less of a problem than expected. We had very high-quality sources, including miniatures painted from life. In those days, miniatures were executed in a photo-realistic style – they were the photographs of the era.”

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After blazing a spectacular trail across the English literary landscape, Keats died in Rome on February 23, 1821, where he had gone hoping the Mediterranean sunshine would ease his tuberculosis.

The poet was only 25, but awareness of his impending death, partly thanks to his medical training, inspired some of his greatest works, including his final poem Bright Star.

An image of Keats created by the Institute for Digital Archaeology Picture: IDA

An image of Keats created by the Institute for Digital Archaeology Picture: IDA

Bright Star, written for fiancée Fanny Brawne, will be recited on the anniversary by a virtual reality Keats during a live-feed from the very room in the Keats-Shelley House – just beside the Spanish Steps – where he died.

The author of odes to melancholy, a nightingale and a Grecian urn died too young and still too unknown to have had many portraits painted of him.

However, both life and death masks of the poet survive, as well as two miniature portraits.

Scans of these have been painstakingly combined by the IDA to produce a highly accurate 3D model of the poet’s features.

A portrait of Shelley at the Bodleian Library

A portrait of Shelley at the Bodleian Library

Mr Michel added: “If you look at the far more numerous surviving images of Shelley and Byron, who both went to Italy at the same time as Keats, their dress was very much affected by continental styles.

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“It’s just like today – if you go to Hawaii on vacation you might buy a Hawaiian shirt. Keats was in Rome and started doing what the Romans did.”

In addition to the CGI reading, other events marking the bicentenary include a virtual tour of the Keats-Shelley House led by Keats enthusiast Bob Geldof and a new poem, inspired by Keats, by Poet Laureate Simon Armitage.