Alfred, Lord Tennyson
- Extended Catalogue Entry
Alfred, Lord Tennyson
by Thomas Woolner
plaster cast of medallion, 1856
10 1/4 in. (260 mm) diameter
Sitterback to top
- Alfred Tennyson, 1st Baron Tennyson (1809-1892), Poet Laureate. Sitter in 96 portraits.
Artistback to top
- Thomas Woolner (1825-1892), Sculptor and poet. Artist associated with 24 portraits, Sitter in 28 portraits.
This portraitback to top
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.
Linked publicationsback to top
- Marsh, Jan, The Pre-Raphaelite Circle, 2013, p. 12 Read entry
Poet Laureate from 1850 to his death, Tennyson was the pre-eminent poet for painters and photographers.
- Marsh, Jan, Insights: The Pre-Raphaelite Circle, 2005, p. 13
- Ormond, Richard, Early Victorian Portraits, 1973, p. 452
- Saywell, David; Simon, Jacob, Complete Illustrated Catalogue, 2004, p. 608
- Truss, Lynn, Tennyson and his Circle, 2015, p. 39
- Truss, Lynne, Character Sketches: Tennyson and His Circle, 1999, p. 19
Events of 1856back to top
Current affairsQueen Victoria introduces the Victoria cross, an award for British soldiers who displayed exceptional valour in battle. Each medal was produced from Russian guns captured in the British war. In 2006, Lance Corporal Johnson Beharry became the first living recipient of the Victoria Cross since 1965, for his actions in the Iraq war.
Art and scienceThe National Portrait Gallery is founded by Philip Henry Stanhope, 5th Earl of Stanhope, Thomas Babington Macaulay, and Thomas Carlyle, all biographers and historians. Historical rather than artistic in focus, the Gallery's aim was to collect original portraits of outstanding figures from British history, notably from politics, the arts, literature and science.
Elizabeth Barrett Browning publishes her epic and autobiographical poem Aurora Leigh.
InternationalThe Treaty of Paris ends the Crimean war. Russia concedes to the Anglo-French-Austrian Four Points of August 1854 including the guarantee of Ottoman sovereignty and territorial integrity. Russia also agreed to a demilitarisation of the land islands in the Baltics, a term which lasted until the outbreak of the First World War.
Britain launches the second Opium war against China.