Mr. and Mrs. Edward Burne-Jones visit The Tennysons

I have been reading my copy of, 'Memorials of Edward Burne-Jones' by his wife, Lady Burne-Jones, Georgiana Burne-Jones. In it, she records a remembrance visit to their friends, Alfred and Emily Tennyson.  I just thought it was so sweet and gave a rare glimpse into how the couples interacted privately while spending time together.

 Alfred, Lord Tennyson photographed by JOHN JABEZ EDWIN MAYALL (1813-1901) National Portrait Gallery, UK
"Whilst Tennyson was in London for the season this year (1880) Edward took me to see him for the first time. Mr. Hallam Tennyson kindly arranged an evening when we should find Tennyson his father and mother alone; he himself had to go out after welcoming us. Mrs. Tennyson, who always went early to bed, rose from her sofa about ten o'clock, and when her husband put his arm round her to help her to her room I thought that her gentle farewell ended the evening, but to my joy, Tennyson asked us to await his return, and afterwards came back and carried us to his study, where we sat an hour with him and found him in his talk powerful, beautiful and simple. When we left he came down to the hall with us, and stopped there talking--leaning as he talked against the doorpost of the room where I was putting on my cloak. As I came out he asked what children we had, and especially about the girl. I told him with truth that he was a hero to her already, and how much she treasured the remembrance of his only call at the Grange, when we were out and she had seen him. "Give her my love," he said, in a slow, deep voice, "and tell her I remember her" -- then, catching himself up, he added with a half chuckle, "it would be a lie, though, for I don't"; and our visit ended in laughter. This was the only time I saw Tennyson, and it was in a good hour."  Memorials of Edward Burne-Jones, pgs. 102-3, Volume 11 (1868-1998), Macmillan & Co., London, 1904. 



WoofWoof said…
Thanks for that, Kimberly, a touching picture. I wonder where this took place? Tennyson had the house at Aldworth, Sussex (where he died) but that's a bit of a way outside London. Would he have rented a house in London for "the season". I can't imagine Tennyson having much time for "the season"...
Hels said…
I had expected that these families socialised and shared ideas all the time, so it surprised me to read "this was the only time I saw Tennyson".

Tomorrow I am publishing a post about George Watts and his wife who built themselves a really lovely home in Surrey. But what is the use of a large home if like-minded friends didn't visit regularly?

Kimberly Eve said…
Hi WoofWoof,
I thought the same thing. The Tennysons lived in a house in London in Hempstead I believe when they were married maybe he kept the place? Thanks so much for commenting.
Kimberly Eve said…
Hi Hels,
Mrs. Burne-Jones only met Tennyson once. It was Edward who saw him many times over the years.

Your post sounds like it might mention Watts and Mary at Limnerlease and Watts Chapel. Thanks for commenting.
Hels said…
oops sorry, I was indeed discussing Limnerslease and the Watts Chapel. The Heritage page added a very telling bit of information. "In the Arts & Crafts style, the building was lovingly decorated by its artist owners who received visits from many illustrious guests, including William Gladstone, Alfred Lord Tennyson and Baden-Powell"!!

Thanks for the link
Kimberly Eve said…
Hi Hels,
No apologies necessary. Yes, G.F. Watts and his wife Mary led a very interesting life individually and together. I hope to visit Watts Chapel one day it just looks beautiful. Great blog post, thanks for sharing!
Daniela said…
Thank you so much for this lovely 'portrait' !
Have a lovely day