Paul Adolphe Rajon. [Alfred, Lord Tennyson]. Ca. 1879. 15 3/8 x 11 1/2. Etching by Gustave Mercier. Signed in pencil by Mercier and with a remarque of a quill pen. Very good condition.
A handsome etched portrait of Alfred, Lord Tennyson (1809-1892), who is often described as the English poet most representative of the Victorian age. He succeeded William Wordsworth as Poet Laureate of England in 1850. Tennyson is buried in the Poets’ Corner in Westminster Abbey.
The image was based on a portrait by Paul Adolphe Rajon (1843-1888), a French painter and printmaker, who began his career as a photographer while studying in Paris. He produced a number of portraits of contemporary writers, such as this one which he painted when Tennyson was 79. Through his acquaintance with the American print dealer Frederick Keppel (1845-1912) in New York, his fame also spread to the United States. Gustave Mercier (1858-1898) was a French-born engraver who also worked in New York, where he died.