FRIENDS IN NEED

As time went on, Lear and the Tennysons grew closer and came to know the intimate details of each others' troubles. In his letters to Emily, Lear speaks openly about his illness, depression, unrequited love, and financial difficulties, to which Emily responds with love and support in the form of invitations, encouragement and cheer.

In return, the Tennysons also sought comfort from Lear, and Emily confided in him a great deal, including after the untimely death of her and Alfred's second son Lionel (from malaria) in 1886.

Emily Tennyson, letter to Edward Lear, 16 Dec 1854, writing to console and cheer him during his depression (object 5409).​ Transcription.

Edward Lear, letter to Alfred Tennyson, 9 June 1855 (object 5415), lamenting that ‘I feel woundily like a spectator, — all through my life’ and suggesting coming to ‘a Pharmouse or a Nin’ nearby their home to paint. Transcription.

Edward Lear, letter to Emily Tennyson, 28 & 29 Oct 1855 (object 5431) thanking her and Alfred for his stay at Farringford. Lear speaks of his visit as ‘a bright blue & green landscape with purple hills, & winding rivers, & unexplored forests, and airy downs, & trees & birds, & all sorts of calm repose.’ Transcription.

Emily Tennyson, letter to Edward Lear, 7 Sept 1855 (object 5425), enclosing an ‘alone’ from her and Alfred to comfort him after the death of a mutual friend. Transcription.