Larger Type
Smaller Type

Search Collections

Tennyson's Princess

1882 William Couper Born: Norfolk, Virginia 1853 Died: Easton, Maryland 1942 marble 24 1/2 x 19 1/8 x 12 1/2 in. (62.3 x 48.7 x 31.6 cm) Smithsonian American Art Museum Bequest of Mary Houston Eddy, the A.R. and M.H. Eddy Donation 1918.5.26 Smithsonian American Art Museum
Luce Foundation Center, 3rd Floor, 20A


Luce Center Label

William Couper based Tennyson’s Princess on the main character in Alfred, Lord Tennyson’s poem of 1847. The story tells of Princess Ida, who at first shuns marriage to establish a university for women, but later falls in love and marries a prince. Ida’s pursuit of an education instead of marriage was not widely accepted in the nineteenth century, and, two years after Couper modeled this piece, Gilbert and Sullivan wrote a musical satire based on Tennyson’s poem. Couper carved tobacco leaves around the bottom part of the sculpture, perhaps in honor of his home state of Virginia.

Keywords

Figure female - bust

Literature - Tennyson - Princess

sculpture

stone - marble

About William Couper

Born: Norfolk, Virginia 1853 Died: Easton, Maryland 1942

More works in the collection by
William Couper