Keats: selected poetry - Q&A with the illustrator
Updated: Nov 7
An interview with illustrator Lotte Budai about illustrating the guided audiobook of Keats: selected poetry for Audrey.
1. What drew you to wanting to illustrate our selection of Keats's poems?
Lotte: For a decade now, I have admired John Keats's poetry. A few years ago, I had the privilege of visiting his final resting place at the Cimitero Acattolico in Rome. As I stood before his gravestone, I was captivated by the profound beauty of the legendary epitaph inscribed upon it – this place was unlike any cemetery I had ever encountered, adorned not only with beautiful gravestones but also wonderful ancient flora and numerous feline companions, adding to the mystical atmosphere. This experience deepened my appreciation for Keats's ability to capture life's fleeting – but also everlasting – beauty. It remains a cherished memory that inspires my love of his work.
2. Can you share anything about your process of creating the artwork?
Lotte: 'The Eve of St Agnes' is perhaps my favourite poem by Keats, and as I was reading the poem, I immediately envisioned this scene: how Saint Agnes hides the lovers gently with the help of a soft veil. I paid attention to these initial intuitions, and the image below is what unfolded. I took note of the details I was struck by in the poem and incorporated some of them into the picture: "casement high and triple-arch'd", apples, a candle, "languid Moon"... The nocturnal scene bathed in moonlight and the apparition of Saint Agnes inspired the mystical and joyful atmosphere that, for me, the poem represents.
3. What would you say to someone who wasn’t sure about reading this book?
Lotte: Reading Keats provides a wonderful recharge for the soul. Even those poems that don't readily reveal themselves can be the best ones. I promise it's worth a try!
Read our Q&A with Carly here.
Lotte Budai is a Hungarian illustrator who lives and works in Budapest. She has been teaching at the University of Pécs Faculty of Visual Arts for 8 years, and more recently started her studies at the PTE Doctoral School, researching celestial formations.
She most enjoys drawing, reading and walking in and observing nature. Her primary interest lies in representing supernatural and transcendent connections between beings – visible and invisible. Celestial formations play a significant role in her work.