We have just returned from a couple of days visiting the delightful English cathedral city of Lincoln, which boasts not only an exceptional Norman cathedral but also Roman remains, a castle and picturesque steep streets with medieval buildings. At the rear of the hilltop cathedral, near to the chapter house, can be found a statue to the Lincolnshire born Poet Laureate Alfred, Lord Tennyson who stands, holding a clump of grass and stems, his dog patiently sitting at his side. This famous poem is quoted on the plinth.
Flower in the crannied wall
Flower in the crannied wall,
I pluck you out of the crannies,
I hold you here, root and all, in my hand,
Little flower—but if I could understand
What you are, root and all, all in all,
I should know what God and man is.
Alfred Lord Tennyson (1809-1892)
Alfred Tennyson, 1st Baron Tennyson was Poet Laureate of Great Britain and Ireland during much of Queen Victoria’s reign and remains one of the most popular British poets. He was born in Somersby in Lincolnshire, son of the rector of the village church and fourth of 12 children. He was from a middle-class line of Tennysons, but also had a noble and royal ancestry. Tennyson excelled at penning short lyrics and much of his verse was based on classical mythological themes although he also wrote some notable blank verse. During his career, Tennyson attempted drama, but his plays enjoyed little success. A number of phrases from Tennyson’s work have become commonplaces of the English language.
William Henry Hunt (1790‑1864)
An English watercolour painter born in Central London and later in Hastings. Hunt was apprenticed to the landscape-painter John Varley and exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1807. Hunt was one of the creators of the English school of watercolour painting becoming connected with the Society of Painters in Watercolours at its beginning, being elected an associate in 1824 and a full member in 1827. Until the year of his death Hunt was one of the most prolific contributors to the Society’s exhibitions. He was, says John Ruskin, all in all, the finest ever painter of still life but his subjects, especially those of his later life, are extremely simple. Technically, his works exhibit all the resources of the watercolour painter’s craft with an exceptional sense of colour. Hunt earned special notice during his lifetime for the accuracy and fine detail of his still lifes with birds’ nests—so much so that he acquired the nickname “Bird’s Nest” Hunt.