THE RARE BOOK AND
MANUSCRIPT LIBRARY
OF COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY

Treasures


79 Dante Gabriel Rossetti 1828-1882
Drawing of Tennyson reading "Maud"
Black ink and sepia wash, 7.25 x 4.5 inches, 1885
Alfred, Lord Tennyson read his new poem "Maud" at a party given by Elizabeth Barrett Browning and Robert Browning on the evening of Monday, September 27, 1855. The other guests were Mrs. Browning's sister, Arabel, and Dante Gabriel Rossetti, who drew this sketch of Tennyson seated on a sofa opposite Mrs. Browning. Rossetti presented the drawing to Robert Browning. The album in which the drawing is mounted, from the collection of A. Edward Newton, also includes a note by Browning identifying the occasion and a letter from Mrs. Browning to Mrs. Theodore Martin in which she describes Tennyson's performance. Appointed Poet Laureate in 1850, Tennyson loved to read "Maud" to an appreciative audience. Although Rossetti was bored by Tennyson's egotism and amused by his declamatory style of speech, Mrs. Browning was impressed, indicating in her letter to Mrs. Martin that "he read exquisitely, in a voice like an organ--rather music than speech." Rossetti inscribed the drawing with the first line from "Maud": "I hate the dreadful hollow behind the little wood."
Gift of Mary Hyde

Collections and Treasures