Sunday, 1 May 2011

Alfred, Lord Tennyson

The death centenary of Alfred, Lord Tennyson in 1992 produced four stamps which featuring the poet at different ages. I only have the one of the aged Tennyson in 1888, or should I say the poet in maturity?  The legends of the Morte d'Arthur have fascinated artists through the centuries and Tennyson was no exception. He had pondered over the retelling of the legend in his "Idylls of the King" for many years, working at it from time to time, one part influencing another. This stamp portrays the part that eventually appeared as 'Merlin and Vivien' with, in the corner, part of the Pre-Raphaelite painter Sir Edward Burne-Jones'  'The Beguiling of Merlin'.  Tennyson's poem starts

A storm was coming, but the winds were still,
And in the wild woods of Broceliande,
Before an oak, so hollow, huge and old
It looked a tower of ivied masonwork,
At Merlin's feet the wily Vivien lay.
The full Burne-Jones paintings, it does not end well for Merlin, for here he is trapped and entangled in a hawthorn while Nimue/Vivien reads his spells.  I have been lucky enough to see this painting as it hangs in the Lady Lever Art Gallery, not too far from where I live.

An entry for Viridian's Sunday Stamps, the theme - Poets or Poetry. 


Bob Scotney said...

I was sure that I had some Tennyson stamps and was disappointed to find I was wrong. I never knew anything about the painting. Guess I shall have to visit the Lever Gallery.

Postcardy said...

I can appreciate the thought behind the stamp, but I think the stamp itself is ugly.

viridian said...

I have a different opinion, I think the stamp is beautiful, combining the photograph and part of the painting. We are all different and that keeps life interesting!
Thank you for participating.

Chris Overstreet said...

I like it too; it seems to evoke the idea that Tennyson was beguiled by the story.

Dorincard said...

Interesting...I have an oak (too) near my house, on Merlins Lane...:)

Sheila @ A Postcard a Day said...

I like the stamp too, and especially the painting. The name Broceliande has always fascinated me, one of those words I like to murmur to myself.