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Alfred, Lord Tennyson

12 of 96 portraits of Alfred, Lord Tennyson

Early Victorian Portraits Catalogue

Alfred, Lord Tennyson

by Thomas Woolner
1873
28 1/4 in. (718 mm) high
NPG 1667

Inscriptionback to top

Incised on one side of the base: A. TENNYSON and on the other: T WOOLNER SC/1873

This portraitback to top

This plaster bust is one of a fairly large edition of casts from Woolner's original bust of 1873. The marble is in the Art Gallery of South Australia, Adelaide, exhibited RA, 1876 (1424), reproduced Magazine of Art (1893), p 98; this was at one time offered to the NPG (see NPG 947). A marble version of 1876 is in the Usher Art Gallery, Lincoln, possibly the bust in the Tennyson Centenary Exhibition, Fine Art Society, London, 1909 (76), lent by Mrs Woolner. A similar plaster cast, described as the original model, is in the Lincoln Central Library, and a bronze cast is in St Margaret's Church at Somersby. Hallam Tennyson, Alfred Lord Tennyson: a Memoir (1897), II, 152, records that his father was daily in Woolner's studio in the early part of November 1873 for sittings for the new bust. Amy Woolner, Thomas Woolner: his Life in Letters (1917), pp 305-6, called it 'the greatest bust of the Sculptor, a majestic and idealistic representation of the Poet Laureate'. Tennyson himself, however, much preferred the earlier, beardless bust of 1856-7 (see NPG 947). A photograph of Woolner at work on the marble bust is reproduced Amy Woolner, facing p 325. For a list of other medallions and busts of Tennyson by Woolner, see NPG 947.

Provenanceback to top

Purchased from the artist's daughter, Miss Amy Woolner, 1912.


This extended catalogue entry is from the out-of-print National Portrait Gallery collection catalogue: Richard Ormond, Early Victorian Portraits, Her Majesty's Stationery Office, 1973, and is as published then. For the most up-to-date details on individual Collection works, we recommend reading the information provided in the Search the Collection results on this website in parallel with this text.

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