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William Ordway Partridge
Alfred, Lord Tennyson
modeled by 1899
20 x 13 x 8 in.
Smithsonian American Art Museum, gift of Mrs. William Ordway Partridge

The long locks, noble forehead, and abundant beard of Alfred, Lord Tennyson provided promising material for Partridge, who may have modeled the popular English poet from life. Partridge excavated deep spaces in the hair and beard, allowing shadows to play across irregular surfaces, creating a work at once meditative and alive with feeling. The smoothness of the forehead reflects light as if locating the spark of inspiration within Tennyson's mind.