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Status: Collect > Document > Analyse > Improve
887.01 Portrait > Authors
887.02 Portrait > Poets
887.03 Portrait > Alfred Tennyson
887.04 Portrait > Julia Margaret Cameron: Alfred Lord Tennyson "The Dirty Monk" (1865)
About this photographer | Photographs by this photographer
During the summer of 1874 photographer Julia Margaret Cameron was living at Dimbola Lodge at Freshwater on the Isle of Wight and Poet Laureate Alfred Lord Tennyson was living next door at Farringford and they knew each other. In 1842 Alfred Lord Tennyson had published “Morte D’Arthur” and he has expanded it to become Idylls of the King (1859). The two of them saw the possibility of illustrating a new edition of Idylls of the King with photographs by Cameron and her slightly fuzzy and imperfect prints were ideally suited to accompanying Arthurian narratives set in a less distinct age. Cameron made over 200 prints for the project but the publisher choose only two that he included as wood-engravings.
In Cameron's 1875 book Illustrations to Tennyson’s Idylls of the King, and other poems her 1869 portrait of a dishevelled Tennyson was included as the frontispiece.
As Cameron wrote in her unfinished manuscript Annals of my Glass House:
Meanwhile I took another immortal head, that of Alfred Tennyson, and the result was that profile portrait which he himself designates as the 'Dirt Monk'. It is a fit representation of Isiah or of Jeremiah, and Henry Taylor said the picture was as fine as Alfred Tennyson's finest poem. The Laureate has since said of it that he likes it better than any other photograph that has been taken of him, except one by Mayall that "except" speaks for itself. The comparison seems too comical. It is rather like comparing one of Madame Toussaud's waxwork heads to one of Woolner's ideal heroic busts.
887.05 Portrait > Washington Irving
887.06 Portrait > Charles Dickens
- Λ Dimbola Museum & Galleries
(Accessed: 29 July 2013)
- Λ 1893, Alfred, Lord Tennyson and his friends, (London: T. Fisher Unwin)
- Λ Julia Margaret Cameron and Alfred Lord Tennyson - Princeton University blog
(Accessed: 29 July 2013)
- Λ Julia Margaret Cameron (1815-1879), Illustrations to Tennyson’s Idylls of the King, and other poems (London: Henry S. King, 1875). volume 1, fontispiece
- Λ John Jabez Edwin Mayall (1813-1901) - Notable British daguerreotypist and photographer.
- Λ Thomas Woolner (1825-1892) - Pre-Raphaelite sculptor.
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