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Photograph - Text of poem 'Merlin and Vivien' from 'Illustrations to Tennyson's Idylls of the King and Other Poems', vol. 1
  • Text of poem 'Merlin and Vivien' from 'Illustrations to Tennyson's Idylls of the King and Other Poems', vol. 1
    Tennyson, Alfred Lord,, born 1809 - died 1892
  • Enlarge image

Text of poem 'Merlin and Vivien' from 'Illustrations to Tennyson's Idylls of the King and Other Poems', vol. 1

  • Object:

    Photograph

  • Place of origin:

    London (printed)

  • Date:

    1875 (printed)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Tennyson, Alfred Lord,, born 1809 - died 1892 (poet)
    Cameron, Julia Margaret, born 1815 - died 1879 (photographer)
    Henry S. King & Co.
    Tennyson, Alfred Lord, (publisher)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Ink on paper

  • Credit Line:

    Gift of Miss M. Ffytche, 1927

  • Museum number:

    84:1-1970

  • Gallery location:

    Prints & Drawings Study Room, level F, case X312, shelf I

In 1874, Julia Margaret Cameron's neighbor, and renowned poet, Alfred Tennyson suggested that Cameron create some illustrations for a new volume of his series of poems on Arthurian legends, "Idylls of the King." In the end, only three images were used, as woodcuts, but the full-size prints were later published in two volumes and were accompanied by excerpts from Tennyson's text and his signature. This is a section of verse from volume one.

Physical description

Printed page of poem text in book of poems with photographic illustrations.

Place of Origin

London (printed)

Date

1875 (printed)

Artist/maker

Tennyson, Alfred Lord,, born 1809 - died 1892 (poet)
Cameron, Julia Margaret, born 1815 - died 1879 (photographer)
Henry S. King & Co.
Tennyson, Alfred Lord, (publisher)

Materials and Techniques

Ink on paper

Marks and inscriptions

'Merlin and Vivien

........he was mute:
So dark a forethought rolled about his brain,
As on a dull day in an Ocean cave
The blind wave feeling round his long sea-hall
In silence: wherefore, when she lifted up
A face of sad appeal, and spake and said,
‘O Merlin, do ye love me?’ and again,
‘O Merlin, do ye love me?’ and once more,
‘Great Master, do ye love me?’ he was mute.
And lissome Vivien, holding by his heel,
Writhed toward him, slided up his knee and sat,
Behind his ankle twined her hollow feet
Together, curved an arm about his neck,
Clung like a snake; and letting her left hand
Droop from his mighty shoulder, as a leaf,
Made with her right a comb of pearl to part
The lists of such a board as youth gone out
Had left in ashes:

A Tennyson'

Dimensions

Height: 44.9 cm book cover, Width: 39 cm book cover, Height: 43 cm page, Width: 33 cm page

Object history note

Originally part of a bound folio volume containing 11 photographs by Cameron and 11 pages of verse text by Tennyson and 3 other text pages (two photographs are missing, the frontispiece image of Tennyson and the last image, 'The Passing of Arthur'). Volume 1 of two albums of illustrations to Tennyson's 'Idylls of the King and other Poems' published by Henry S. King & Co., 1874-75). Each photograph is mounted on bluish mounts with gilt borders.

Descriptive line

Text of poem 'Merlin and Vivien' from 'Illustrations to Tennyson's Idylls of the King and Other Poems', vol. 1, 1875, illustrated with ohotographs by Julia Margaret Cameron

Categories

Photographs; Books; Allegory; Myths & Legends; A Year of Objects: October, Death of Alfred Lord Tennyson

Collection

Prints, Drawings & Paintings Collection

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