Alfred Lord Tennyson, poetic voice of the Victorian Age, would have been 200 years old this Thursday. Tennyson was born in the rolling wolds of Lincolnshire, and his imagination was molded with the beauty of the surrounding countryside.
In honor of the poet’s birthday, The Collection Museum in Lincolnshire will be hosting a day of free family events with poetry-related activities and readings of Tennyson’s work. The event also allows visitors to look around the museum’s “Tennyson Transformed” art exhibition, which assembles vivid examples of artistic responses to Tennyson’s poetry by some of the best known artists of the Victorian era. Unique objects from Lincoln’s Tennyson Research Centre are also on display.
England’s other locale with Tennyson associations is the Isle of Wight, located in the English Channel. Seeking refuge “far from the noise and smoke of town,” the poet settled on the isle in 1853 and lived there for the last 40 years of his life. The poet’s house, where he composed his famed poems “Maud” and “The Charge of the Light Brigade” has been reincarnated as the ivy-clad Farringford Hotel (pictured below right), which offers guests the chance to sleep in Tennyson’s former bedroom and relax in the study where he would retreat to smoke his pipe.
Tennyson received a number of important visitors while at Farringford, including Prince Albert (who lived across the island at Osborne House), Charles Dickens, Lewis Carroll, Robert Browning, and Charles Darwin. To celebrate the poet’s bicentenary, the hotel will be running a special exhibit, “Tennyson at Farringford,” in its newly unveiled library, which has been restored to reflect how it looked when the poet lived there.
Also marking the poet’s anniversary, a new toposcope – a monument which indicates the direction and distance to visible landmarks – will be unveiled on Thursday next to the Tennyson Monument (pictured top left), a clifftop memorial above Farringford which overlooks the English Channel.