TENNYSON, ALFRED (1809-1892)
PORTRAIT BY JAMES MUDD (1821-1906), vintage photograph, oval albumen print, three-quarter length, half turned to the right, seated wearing a frock coat done up to the neck, holding a book in his left hand and with his wide-awake hat on his knee, mounted on an album leaf, small reproduced images under mount not affecting the photograph, framed and glazed, size of image 9 x 7 inches (23 x 18 cm), overall size 18 x 15 inches (46 x 38 cm), Manchester, 1857
Once thought to be by Lewis Carroll (Malcolm Rogers), this 'is one of the finest early photographs' of Tennyson, which 'was given wide currency through its publication on 15 April 1861 by the firm of Cundal & Co. Tennyson began to grow his beard in 1857 and never shaved again' (NPG on line catalogue, where a copy of this image is shown). The portrait, taken at Manchester during the National Art Exhibition in 1857, was also published in Poets in the Pulpit, edited by H.R. Haweis, 1880.
Nathaniel Hawthorn left a description of Tennyson at the sitting for this photograph: 'The most picturesque figure without affection that I ever saw, of middle size, rather slouching, dressed entirely in black and nothing white about him except the collar of his shirt, which methought might have been clean the day before...his long black hair, looking terribly tangled...His frock coat was buttoned across his breast though the afternoon was warm...I...rejoiced more in him than in all the wonders of the Exhibition' (Robert Woof).
James Mudd, born in Halifax, had a studio at 10 St Anns Square, Manchester, and was best known for his landscape pictures, one of which featured the effect of a burst dam in 1864 near Sheffield; he was the first Englishman to photograph industrial subjects on a regular basis. In 1866 Mudd published a book entitled The Collodio-Albumen Process.
REFERENCES: Hallam Tennyson, Alfred Lord Tennyson: A Memoir, 2 volumes, 1897; Robert Woof, Tennyson, 1809-1892, A Centenary Celebration, 1992; Malcolm Rogers, Camera Portraits, 1990, where the photograph is reproduced.