Not currently on display at the V&A

Text of poem 'Lancelot and Elaine' from 'Illustrations to Tennyson's Idylls of the King and Other Poems', vol. 2

Photograph
1875 (printed)
Artist/Maker
Place Of Origin

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 two.


object details
Categories
Object Type
Additional TitleIdylls of the King and other Poems, vol. 2 (series title)
Materials and Techniques
Ink on paper
Brief Description
Text of poem 'Lancelot and Elaine' from 'Illustrations to Tennyson's Idylls of the King and Other Poems', vol. 2, 1875 illustrated with photographs by Julia Margaret Cameron
Physical Description
Printed page of poem text in book of poems with photographic illustrations.
Dimensions
  • Book cover height: 44.9cm
  • Book cover width: 39cm
  • Page height: 43cm
  • Page width: 33cm
Marks and Inscriptions
'Lancelot and Elaine "O sweet father, tender and true, Deny me not,’ she said—’ye never yet Denied my fancies—this, however strange, My latest: lay the letter in my hand A little ere I die, and close the hand Upon it; I shall guard it even in death. .................................................................... .................................................................... .................................................................... And therefore let our dumb old man alone Go with me, he can steer and row, and he Will guide me to that palace, to the doors." She ceased: her father promised; whereupon She grew so cheerful that they deemed her death Was rather in the fantasy than the blood. But ten slow mornings past, and on the eleventh Her father laid the letter in her hand, And closed the hand upon it, and she died. So that day there was dole in Astolat.-- But when the next sun brake from underground, Then, those two brethren slowly with bent brows Accompanying, the sad chariot-bier Past like a shadow through the field, that shone Full-summer, to that stream whereon the barge, Palled all its length in blackest samite, lay. There sat the lifelong creature of the house, Loyal, the dumb old servitor, on deck, Winking his eyes, and twisted all his face. So those two brethren from the chariot took And on the black decks laid her in her bed, Set in her hand a lily, o’er her hung The silken case with braided blazonings, And kissed her quiet brows, and saying to her ‘Sister, farewell for ever,’ and again ‘Farewell, sweet sister,’ parted all in tears. Then rose the dumb old servitor, and the dead, Oared by the dumb, went upward with the flood— In her right hand the lily, in her left The letter—all her bright hair streaming down— And all the coverlid was cloth of gold Drawn to her waist, and she herself in white All but her face, and that clear-featured face Was lovely, for she did not seem as dead, But fast asleep, and lay as tho' she smiled. A Tennyson'
Object history
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 2 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.
Associations
Literary Reference'Illustrations to Tennyson's Idylls of the King, and other poems', vol. 2, by Julia Margaret Cameron. London: Henry S. King & Co., 1875.
Summary
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 two.
Associated Object
44-1939 (Part)
Collection
Accession Number
44:1-1939

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record createdMay 14, 2014
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