AUCTION – Jewels from the descendants of Alfred, Lord Tennyson to headline Bonhams sale


Poet Laureate during much of Queen Victoria’s reign, Alfred, Lord Tennyson (1809-1892) loomed large in the Victorian imagination. His work inspired numerous artistic interpretations, most notably from the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood, who considered him one of their ‘immortals’.

His eldest son Hallam – who would also act as his father’s secretary – would go on to become Governor-General of Australia, and Hallam’s wife Audrey – who would often help transcribe the poet’s words – would become one of the founders of Australia’s first maternity hospital for women in the outback. 

Offered directly by descendants of the great poet, jewels from the Tennyson family’s collection will be offered as part of Bonhams’ London Jewels sale on 26 April at New Bond Street, London.

AUCTION – Jewels from the descendants of Alfred, Lord Tennyson to headline Bonhams sale


Diamond Hair Ornament. Estimate: £8,000 – 12,000. Right: Alfred, Lord Tennyson

Consisting of 18 lots (lots 17-35), the collection is led by a diamond hair ornament owned by The Hon. Margaret Cicely Tennyson, née Drummond (1880-1963), wife of Alfred Browning Stanley Tennyson, grandson of the poet, which has an estimate of £8,000-12,000.

The Hon. Margaret Cicely Drummond was the 6th child of the 10th Viscount Strathallan. A historic Scottish family, the Drummonds were given lands in Dunbartonshire following the Norman Conquest and were created Viscount Strathallan in 1686. She married Alfred Browning Stanley Tennyson in 1912. 

Emily Barber, Bonhams Head of Jewellery, UK, said: “Alfred, Lord Tennyson was a towering figure of the Victorian era. His descendants also made significant contributions to public life – especially in Australia – and became part of the Tennyson legacy. It is a pleasure to be able to bring items from the family’s personal collection to auction for the first time.”