Tennyson Reading Maud

Dante Gabriel Rossetti

General Description

Date: 1855 September
Model: Alfred, Lord Tennyson


◦ Fredeman, “Rossetti's Impromptu Portraits of Tennyson Reading Maud”, 1963

◦ Surtees, A Catalogue Raisonné, I. 198-199 (no. 526).

◦ Wildman, Visions of Love and Life, 148-149.

Scholarly Commentary


This famous picture, of which DGR made three versions, records the event that took place at the Browning's home on the evening of 27 September 1855. The first version, which DGR gave to the Brownings, was made during the reading, though Tennyson was unaware of what DGR was doing. DGR made a pen and ink copy for Elizabeth Siddal which he sent to her in Paris. A second copy was apparently made much later and given to William Sharp.

DGR later (8 January 1856) wrote to Allingham about the evening: “During two evenings when Tennyson was at their house in London, Mrs. Browning left T. with her husband & William & me (who were the fortunate remnant of the male party) to discuss the universe, & gave all her attention to some certainly not very exciting ladies in the next room. I never was more amused in my life than by Tennyson's groanings and horrors over the reviews of Maud, which poem he read through to us, spouting also several sections to be introduced in a new edition. I made a sketch of him reading, which I gave to Browning, and afterwards duplicated it for Miss S[iddal] (see Fredeman, Correspondence, 55. 58.).

Electronic Archive Edition: 1
Source File: s526.raw.xml