TENNYSON, ALFRED, Lord (1809-1892, poet, Poet Laureate)
PORTRAIT BY JAMES HENRY LYNCH (d. 1868) AFTER SAMUEL LAURENCE P.R.A. (1812-1884), lithograph, India paper proof, head and shoulders, 123/4 x 10 in (32.4 25.4 cm).
EXHIBITED: Cheltenham Literary Festival, Faces and Places, 1982; British Library Millennium Exhibition Chapter & Verse: 1000 years of English Literature, 2000.
Edward Fitzgerald, one of Tennyson's life-long friends, who in about 1840 had persuaded Tennyson to sit for Laurence for this portrait, wrote on 5 June 1871 to Hallam, the poet's son: 'Very imperfect as Laurence's portrait (of A) is, it is nevertheless the best painted portrait I have seen; and certainly the only one of the old days. "Blubber-lipt" I remember once Alfred called it; so it is; but still the only one of the old days, and still the best of all to my thinking. I like to go back to days before the beard, which makes rather a Dickens of A.T. in the photographs - to my mind."' (Hallam Tennyson, Alfred Lord Tennyson, A Memoir by his Son, 1897, ii. p. 104).
The early engravings of the portrait preserve the original version of it, which was re-worked by Edward Burne-Jones after Fitzgerald had given it to Emily Tennyson in 1876 and is now in the National Portrait Gallery. (Robert Martin, Tennyson: The Unquiet Heart, 1980).