Statue of Tennyson by George Frederic Watts, R.A., 1817-1904.

G. F. Watts's bronze statue of Tennyson was cast in 1903, at the cost of the county of Lincolnshire, which had commissioned the memorial. It was placed on a granite plinth in the Cathedral Precinct in Lincoln, and unveiled in 1905. Benedict Read writes of the difficulties that Watts had with its production, when the first gesso figure had to be broken up, and suggests that the sculptor may have added the dog "as a mechanical necessity rather than an aesthetic one" (285). However, as Read points out, he was able to obtain an attractively rugged texture through his process, which is notable even today. Another notable point about the composition is Tennyson's intent gaze on the small object (unseen by the passerby) which he holds in his hand. The reference is to Tennyson's well-known poem, "Flower in the Crannied Wall," as G. K. Chesterton explained, adding: "There is something very characteristic of Watts in the contrast between the colossal plan of the figure and the smallness of the central object" (39).

Photographs by Simon Cooke; text by Jacqueline Banerjee. You may use these images without prior permission for any scholarly or educational purpose as long as you (1) credit the photographer or source and (2) link your document to this URL in a web document or cite the Victorian Web in a print one. Click on the images to enlarge them.

Related Material

  • Plaster model at Compton
  • Two Models for the Head
  • Unvignetted Image
  • Bibliography

    Chesterton, G. K. G. F. Watts. London: Duckworth, 1914. Internet Archive. Contributed by Kelly Library, University of Toronto. Web. 1 November 2017.

    Read, Benedict. Victorian Sculpture. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1982.

    Created 1 November 2017