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Alfred, Lord Tennyson

Julia Margaret Cameron (British (born India), Calcutta 1815–1879 Kalutara, Ceylon)

Date:
1865
Medium:
Albumen silver print from glass negative
Dimensions:
Image: 22.9 x 18.4 cm (9 x 7 1/4 in.), rounded top Mount: 40.5 x 24.6 cm (15 15/16 x 9 11/16 in.), irregular
Classification:
Photographs
Credit Line:
David Hunter McAlpin Fund, 1966
Accession Number:
66.633.1
  • Description

    A brilliant poet from an early age, Alfred Tennyson (1809–1892) was widely published and admired by 1850, when Queen Victoria named him Poet Laureate to succeed William Wordsworth. “The Lady of Shalott,” “Break, Break, Break,” “In Memoriam A.H.H.,” “The Charge of the Light Brigade,” and Idylls of the King, a poetic cycle based on the Arthurian legends, are among his best remembered works. Tennyson thought Cameron’s portraits made him look like he had bags under his eyes (correctly, it would seem), and he dubbed this one The Dirty Monk. In a comment that Cameron quoted with a measure of both pride and umbrage, Tennyson declared: “I prefer the Dirty Monk to the others of me . . . except one by Mayall.” The image served as the frontispiece for Cameron’s volume of illustrations for the poet’s Idylls of the King, displayed elsewhere in the exhibition.

  • Provenance

    Walter Spencer, London

271077

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