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Photograph - Text of poem 'Lancelot and Elaine' from 'Illustrations to Tennyson's Idylls of the King and Other Poems', vol. 1
  • Text of poem 'Lancelot and Elaine' 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 'Lancelot and Elaine' 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:

    87:1-1970

  • 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

'Lancelot and Elaine

So in her tower alone the maiden sat:
His very shield was gone; only the case,
Her own poor work, her empty labour, left.
But still she heard him, still his picture form'd
And grew between her and the pictured wall.
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

And in those days she made a little song,
And called her song ‘The Song of Love and Death,’
And sang it: sweetly could she make and sing.
‘Sweet is true love though given in vain, in vain;
And sweet is death who puts an end to pain:
I know not which is sweeter, no, not I.
‘Love, art thou sweet? then bitter death must be:
Love, thou art bitter; sweet is death to me.
O Love, if death be sweeter, let me die.
‘Sweet love, that seems not made to fade away,
Sweet death, that seems to make us loveless clay,
I know not which is sweeter, no, not I.
‘I fain would follow love, if that could be;
I needs must follow death, who calls for me;
Call and I follow, I follow! let me die.’

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 'Lancelot and Elaine' from 'Illustrations to Tennyson's Idylls of the King and Other Poems', vol. 1, 1875, illustrated with photographs 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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