Edward Lear, undated drawing of Hallam Tennyson (aged c.3 years old)

This pencil sketch was found as a loose sheet inside Lear’s ‘Excursions in Italy Volume 1’ (AT/1369). Lear probably made the drawing in October 1855, during a visit to the family, the 3 or 4 days of which he told Emily ‘were the best I have passed for many a long day’ (object 5431).  Although Hallam and Lionel looked similar, Lionel’s hair was wilder and curlier. In her letters, Emily provides amusing depictions of the boys’ behaviour around the house, while Hallam himself wrote playful letters to Lear, as a youth and as a ‘very tiptoppious cove’.