Edward Moxon and Co. Publishing Firm

When Alfred, Lord Tennyson ended his professional relationship with Edward Moxon and Co. (44 Dover Street, Piccadilly) in 1869, the firm had been publishing his work for over thirty years.  Although Tennyson had good relations with Edward Moxon himself, the poet's relationship to James Bertrand Payne, Moxon's successor, was fraught with tension.  Tennyson's frustrations with Payne were rooted in Payne's commercial and financial strategies, by which the poet felt exploited.  These tensions came to a head over Moxon's publication of an ornate illustrated edition of Tennyson's Idylls of the King, a venture that ultimately proved detrimental to the firm's finances and reputation. 

To read a related blog post, click here: http://blogs.baylor.edu/19crs/2020/01/15/layers-of-interp…-king-in-context/


Latitude: 51.508400000000
Longitude: -0.142161600000

Timeline of Events Associated with Edward Moxon and Co. Publishing Firm

Date Event Manage

Dante Gabriel Rossetti's Interpretation of "The Lady of Shalott"


The Moxon Tennyson Published

The Moxon Tennyson is a collection of poetry from Alfred Lord Tennyson illustrated by the Pre-Raphaelite artists Dante Gabriel Rosetti, John Millais, and William Holman Hunt (all of whom were greatly influenced by Tennyson’s work), and the Victorian artists Thomas Creswick, J.C. Horsley, William Mulready and Clarkson Stanfield

Due to the importance of illustration in the book’s popularity, it is associated with the publisher (Edward Moxon) and referred to as the Moxon Tennyson. The Moxon Tennyson is considered to have launched the golden age of wood-engraved illustration. Wood-engraved illustration was popular from the 1960s to the 1890s when photographic methods of illustrations gained traction. The illustrations in the Moxon Tennyson were woodblocks created by the Daziel brothers after the hand-drawn illustrations of mostly Pre-Raphaelite artists. There are a total of fifty-five illustrations in the Moxon, thirty of which were made by John Everett Millais, William Holman Hunt, and Dante Gabriel Rossetti. The remaining twenty-five illustrations were done by academic artists such as Maclise and Landseer

The genre this was published in was considered victorian poetry. It was filled with illustrations that were heavily influenced by medieval literature and culture. While these illustrations were wood carved illustrations, they were often being related to fine art rather than "the mass art of wood engraving." These influences caused readers to develop a new approach to illustrations as a whole.

The Moxon Tennyson was initially not well-received nor popular upon publication, the former due to the dissonance of the varying art-styles contained in the book, and the latter due to its high market price. Tennyson himself criticized the illustrations (particularly those by the Pre-Raphaelite artists) for not being faithful to his poetry. The manner in which the Moxon’s illustrators diverged from Tennyson’s verse, however, was greatly influential in the long-run; it set the groundwork for illustrations to be appreciated in and of themselves -- not merely as works subordinate to the texts to which they were set.

Curated by Nicole Bernard, Zeinab Fakih, and Justin Hovey.

Kooistra, Lorraine Janzen. “The Moxon Tennyson as Textual Event: 1857, Wood Engraving, and Visual Culture.” BRANCH: Britain, Representation and Nineteenth-Century History. Ed. Dino Franco Felluga. Extension of Romanticism and Victorianism on the Net. Web. 17 September 2020.

Moxon Tennyson Cover
1868 Published toward the end of the year.

Moxon Publishes Illustrated Idylls

In 1868 Edward Moxon and Co. published an ambitious and ornate illustrated edition of Alfred, Lord Tennyson's Idylls of the King.  The engravings were provided by Gustave Doré, who had recently illustrated John Milton's Paradise Lost and the Bible.  Although the volume was assumed to be successful, its publication was characterized by tensions between Tennyson and James Bertrand Payne, the manager of Moxon and editor of the edition.  

To read a related blog post, click here: http://blogs.baylor.edu/19crs/2020/01/15/layers-of-interp…-king-in-context/

Front Engraving