I have this morning received the photographs of my two boys. The oldest is very well likened: the other, perhaps, not so well.
My best thanks. I wish you had come up here when you were at Freshwater as it is.
I look forward to the pleasure of making your acquaintance at some future time.
Yours very truly,
Immediately, I read this and thought, 'what photographer' is Tennyson referring to? It wasn't Mrs. Cameron, obviously, Oscar Rejlander took The Tennyson Family photos during the 1860s on the grounds of Farringford House. It wasn't John Mayall. Possibly Lewis Carroll who photographed Tennyson's boys, Hallam and Lionel in 1857. I'll get to that later. I knew it wasn't Carroll because Tennyson mentions not meeting the photographer and Tennyson and Carroll met before and after 1857! So, 1857 photographs of the boys taken by someone Tennyson did not meet yet...this leaves one man named Reginald Southey who in 1857 took the two following very important photographs of two sets of boys who were sons of two of the most prominent nineteenth century figures and very good friends:
Is this not the sweetest photograph of Alfred Tennyson's sons: LEFT: oldest boy, Hallam Tennyson looking directly into the camera 'capturing his likeness' as his father says and the younger profile of Lionel Tennyson staring at something..., Hallam was five years old in 1857 and his brother would have been three years old in 1857. Hallam Tennyson (1852-1928) and Lionel Tennyson (1854-86) as children by Reginald Southey, Freshwater, Isle of Wight. Albumen print, 84 x 137mm (3 3/48 x 5 3/8"). 1857, Princeton Library.
“From a letter of Carlyle to his wife, dated September 1850, we get a glimpse of the newly-wedded couple on a visit at Tent Lodge, Coniston. “Alfred looks really improved, I should say; cheerful in what he talks, and looking forward to a future less detached than the past has been. A good soul, find him where and how situated you may. Mrs. Tennyson lights up bright glittering blue eyes when you speak to her; has wit, has sense; and were it not that she seems so very delicate in health, I should augur really well of Tennyson’s adventure.” (The Homes and Haunts of Alfred Lord Tennyson, Poet Laureate by George G. Napier, published in 1892, pg. 156.)