Alfred, Lord Tennyson

1 portrait

Alfred, Lord Tennyson, by Julia Margaret Cameron, May 1865 - NPG x18024 - © National Portrait Gallery, London

© National Portrait Gallery, London

Alfred, Lord Tennyson

by Julia Margaret Cameron
albumen print, arched top, May 1865
9 3/4 in. x 7 7/8 in. (249 mm x 201 mm)
Purchased, 1929
Photographs Collection
NPG x18024


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  • Julia Margaret Cameron (1815-1879), Pioneer photographer. Artist associated with 113 portraits, Sitter in 8 portraits.

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Julia Margaret Cameron was one of the first and remains one of the greatest portrait photographers. The wife of a coffee-planter in Ceylon, she took up photography in her late forties, strongly influenced by the mid-Victorian fascination for High Renaissance painting and by the Romantic medievalism of the pre-Raphaelites. Before taking up photography, she had bought two cottages at Freshwater on the Isle of Wight, which she called 'Dimbola' after her house in Ceylon. Tennyson, who had long been a friend, was now a neighbour. He was to be one of her most important sources of inspiration, both in her illustrations for his Idylls of the King and, more generally, as a source for her style of poetic romance. She photographed him on a number of occasions. This was the version he liked best, writing under it, 'I prefer the Dirty Monk to the others of me.'

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Current affairs

Elizabeth Garrett Anderson is the first female to be awarded a doctor's licence. She is also involved in collecting signatures for the Manchester Suffrage Committee, the first suffrage organisation, formed this year. John Stuart Mill was also elected to parliament this year on the platform of women's suffrage. Palmerston dies in October, and is replaced as leader of the Liberal government by his Foreign Secretary, Lord Russell.

Art and science

Lewis Carroll's Alice in Wonderland is published, inspired by Carroll's relationship (as Oxford don Sir Charles Dodgson) with his friend Henry George Liddell's daughter Alice. Matthew Arnold publishes the first series of Essays in Criticism, a defining text in the development of English literature as an academic discipline.

International

In the American civil war, Robert E. Lee surrenders the Confederate Army of Northern Virginia to Ulysses S. Grant, leading to the surrender of the Confederacy's remaining field armies. A few days later, US President Abraham Lincoln is shot dead by Confederate sympathiser John Wilkes Booth. Later this year slavery is officially abolished after years of fierce campaigning. In response, the first branch of the Ku Klux Klan is founded on Christmas Eve.

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