Tennyson's Princess

  • 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

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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.

Title
Tennyson's Princess
Artists
Date
1882
On View
Dimensions
24 1/2 x 19 1/8 x 12 1/2 in. (62.3 x 48.7 x 31.6 cm)
Credit Line

Smithsonian American Art Museum

Bequest of Mary Houston Eddy, the A.R. and M.H. Eddy Donation

Mediums
Classifications
Keywords
  • Figure female – bust
  • Literature – Tennyson – Princess
Object Number
1918.5.26
Palette
Linked Open Data
Linked Open Data URI