Also in December 1818
1st: Following the death of his brother, Tom, from tuberculosis, the poet John Keats moves to Wentworth Place, a house near Hampstead Heath owned by his friend
Charles Armitage Brown. During his stay there, he goes on to write some of his bestknown work, including Ode on a Grecian Urn and La Belle Dame sans Merci.
3rd: Karl van Beethoven, the composer’s 12-year-old nephew, runs away from his care to be with his mother, Johanna. Appointed sole guardian of Karl after a protracted legal battle with Johanna two years earlier, Beethoven secures his return with help from the police. Karl is then sent to stay for a period at the house of his boarding school master Giannattasio del Rio, where he remains under strict supervision.
10th: The German-born artist Hubert Maurer dies in Vienna, aged 80. Best known for his portraits and paintings with either religious or mythological themes, his most famous works include Circe and Odysseus and Moses and the burning bush. As a teacher at the Vienna Academy of Fine Arts for 32 years, he had many distinguished pupils.
25th: Founded in Boston three years previously with the aim of promoting and performing the music of its two eponymous composers, the Handel and Haydn Society gives the first ever complete performance of Handel’s The Messiah in the US. Two months later, the society does likewise with Haydn’s The Creation.
29th: Armand-emmanuel de Vignerot du Plessis, the Duke of Richelieu, resigns as prime minister of France, ostensibly in response to a refusal by his colleagues to support a change to electoral law. He thus leaves a post he has held with reluctance since succeeding Talleyrand in 1815.
Place of poetry: Wentworth House, home to John Keats (above)