Tennyson’s Princess

Copied William Couper, Tennyson's Princess, 1882, marble, Smithsonian American Art Museum, Bequest of Mary Houston Eddy, the A.R. and M.H. Eddy Donation, 1918.5.26
Free to use

Artwork Details

Title
Tennyson’s Princess
Date
1882
Dimensions
24 1219 1812 12 in. (62.348.731.6 cm)
Credit Line
Bequest of Mary Houston Eddy, the A.R. and M.H. Eddy Donation
Mediums
Mediums Description
marble
Classifications
Keywords
  • Literature — Tennyson — Princess
Object Number
1918.5.26

Artwork Description

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.