Lear was introduced to the Tennysons by Franklin Lushington in 1850. Alfred had recently married Emily Sellwood and been made Poet Laureate after the publication of In Memoriam (1849). The three immediately bonded over their mutual interest in natural landscapes and travel. As a late wedding present, Lear sent the Tennysons his illustrated landscape journals, which they received with ‘delight’ and presented on their drawing room table.

Alfred so admired Lear’s Journal of a Landscape Painter in Albania (1851) that he wrote a poetic tribute: ‘To E. L., on His Travels in Greece’ (1853). Over the course of their friendship, the Tennysons would come to own all of Lear’s books, as well as a number of his paintings. Lear looked for feedback and ‘remarks’ from the family on his art, and the Tennysons valued Lear's own comments on Alfred’s poetry. 

Edward Lear, undated watercolour (775 x 574mm) (LCNTE: 2011/4) on loan from the Tennyson Trustees, 1993.  More information.

Edward Lear, pencil and ink sketch of Farringford (the Tennyson family home) 15 October 1864, (360 x 485mm), (object 5786). More information.

Edward Lear, undated drawing of Hallam Tennyson (aged c.3 years old), (object 6332).

More information.

Alfred Tennyson, letter to Edward Lear, 8 June 1855, corresponding with regard to an invitation to his studio (object 5414). More information.