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Alfred Tennyson, 1st Baron Tennyson

3 of 93 portraits of Alfred Tennyson, 1st Baron Tennyson

Alfred Tennyson, 1st Baron Tennyson, by Thomas Woolner, 1856 - NPG 3847 - © National Portrait Gallery, London

© National Portrait Gallery, London

Alfred Tennyson, 1st Baron Tennyson

by Thomas Woolner
plaster cast of medallion, 1856
10 1/4 in. (260 mm) diameter
Purchased, 1953
Primary Collection
NPG 3847

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  • Thomas Woolner (1825-1892), Sculptor and poet. Artist associated with 25 portraits, Sitter in 27 portraits.

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The Pre-Raphaelite sculptor Thomas Woolner met Tennyson in the late 1840s and made a first, unsuccessful, medallion portrait of him in 1850. The type here is one of a number of casts based on a medallion which Woolner began while staying with the Tennysons at Farringford on the Isle of Wight in 1855. It was widely admired by the poet's family and friends, Browning thinking that 'no likeness could possibly be better', James Spedding calling it 'magnificent', and Tennyson's wife Emily praised its 'delicate yet lofty beauty'. The image became widely known when an engraving of it appeared on the frontispiece to the first illustrated edition of Tennyson's Poems in 1857.

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