Offered by: Shapero Gallery
105 New Bond Street London W1S 1DN , England Call Seller 44.207.493.0876


Cabinet card portrait of Alfred Tennyson, signed by him by Alfred Tennyson

$ 1,919
  • Description
    [TENNYSON, Alfred.] MAYALL, John Jabez Edwin.
    [Cabinet card portrait of Alfred Tennyson, signed by him].
    Stock Code 111342

    Current price $1,919.00
    Tennyson's favourite portrait, signed by him. John Jabez Edwin Mayall (1810-1901) was an English photographer, born Jabez Meal in Lancashire, who first practised photography in Philadelphia after moving to the United States in late 1841 or early 1842. Returning to England four years later, Mayall opened the American Daguerreotype Institution in London and, later, in 1855, established a studio in his name. Mayall gained fame as a portraitist; his sitters include Sir John Herschel, Louis Jacques Mandé Daguerre, Queen Victoria and Prince Albert, and Charles Dickens. Helmut Gernsheim describes Mayall as 'the earliest exponent of fine art photography,' in advance of both Oscar Rejlander and Julia-Margaret Cameron. However, criticism of his work at the 1851 Great Exhibition of the Works of Industry of All Nations held in the Crystal Palace, London, led him to focus on veracity in his photographic career instead of artistic merit.

    This cabinet card photograph is printed using the vignetted portrait technique perfected by Mayall for his daguerreotypes and introduced by him at the Great Exhibition; the head and shoulders remain in focus while the rest of the image becomes less distinct. On various occasions, Tennyson referred to this as his favourite portrait, to the chagrin of Julia-Margaret Cameron, who photographed Tennyson later, in 1865, a portrait Tennyson referred to as the 'Dirty Monk.' Cameron remarked:' The Laureate has since said of it that he likes it better than any photograph that has been taken of him except one by Mayall, that "except" speaks for itself. The comparison seems too comical. It is rather like comparing one of Madame Toussaud's waxwork heads to one of Woolner's ideal heroic busts.'

    Albumen print (144 x 99 mm, 5¾ x 4 in) on printed card mount (170 x 106 mm, 6¾ x 4¼ in); Signed by Alfred Tennyson in ink on mount, recto; inscribed in ink on mount, verso: 'Given to H.M. Moncrieff / by / The Honble / Hallam Tennyson / at Dedworth, Haselmere, / Sussex. / 5th August 1887. / The day before the Poet / Laureate's 78th Birthday. / This Photograph was taken / about 15 years ago.'; Printed on mount, recto: 'Mayall's / Photographic Studio, / 224, Regent St. London.'; printed on mount, verso: 'Mayall's Photographic Studio, 224, Regent St., London.' print shows typical minor fading and yellowing characteristic of the process, with faint stray pen marks most likely from proximity to an autograph letter. Framed.

    Julia Margaret Cameron, 'Annals of My Glass House' in Photo Beacon 2, Chicago, 1890 pp157-60.
  • More Information
    Documentation: Signed
    Period: 19th Century
    Styles / Movements: Other
    Dealer Reference #: 111342
    Incollect Reference #: 722211
  • Dimensions
    W. 4.25 in; H. 6.75 in;
    W. 10.8 cm; H. 17.15 cm;
Message from Seller:

Based in the heart of Mayfair in London, we specialise in prints and original works on paper across a broad range of subjects, from antique prints to modern pochoir plates, as well as photographs from vintage photography to modern art photography.

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