Tennyson Reading

Julia Margaret Cameron British, born India

Not on view

When Cameron’s husband retired in 1848 from the Calcutta Council of Education and the Supreme Council of India, the couple moved to England with their six children, settling first in Tunbridge Wells, near Charles’s old friend the poet Henry Taylor, and later in Putney Heath, near the poet Alfred, Lord Tennyson and his wife. For Cameron, these men were not merely friends and neighbors but also intellectual, spiritual, and artistic advisors. In 1860, while her husband was in Ceylon checking on the family coffee plantations, Cameron visited the Tennysons’ new home in Freshwater on the Isle of Wight and promptly purchased two cottages next door, which she joined together as the new family home.
Cameron’s friendship and determination knew no bounds—indeed, her kindness could be overbearing (as when she presented Tennyson with thirty rolls of wallpaper to replace the wallpaper she didn’t like in his house). Tennyson, who jokingly referred to Cameron’s models as “victims,” resisted her appeals to sit for his portrait but ultimately succumbed.

Tennyson Reading, Julia Margaret Cameron (British (born India), Calcutta 1815–1879 Kalutara, Ceylon), Albumen silver print from glass negative

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