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This Favoured Land

Edward King-Tenison and Lady Louisa in Spain, 1850–1853

Lee Fontanella

In the wake of the Irish potato famine, Edward King-Tenison, a sometime Irish politician of the liberal order and one of the first masterful photographers of Spain, and his wife, Lady Louisa Mary Anne Anson, the eldest daughter of the 1st Earl of Lichfield, left their estate of Kilronan in County Roscommon, Ireland, to reside and travel in Andalusia and, later, in Castile. The remarkable adventure on which these Irish nobles embarked in mid-nineteenth-century Spain led to a husband-and-wife team of astonishing cultural production. While Tenison focused on photography, Lady Louisa chronicled their travels, producing sketches and establishing relations on an international level with other artists, who collaborated in her illustrated chronicle. This book documents the fascinating travels of this couple and presents their work to a new readership.

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Foreword and acknowledgments


Relatively little has been written about Edward King-Tenison and Lady Louisa Tenison, although they were definitive in their respective cultural accomplishments: he as pioneer photographer; she as chronicler of travels and sketch artist and colorist. Nor was either lacking in other achievements: he in the socio-political arena; she in that of international relations, particularly in the field of art. Their joint accomplishments were so unusually great that the task of delineating them has proved daunting; and especially so, when their achievements are taken jointly and complementarily. It is indeed hard to imagine, without repeated, meticulous review of their joint activity, just how such an adventurous duo may have teamed up to produce the vast quantity of singular work that they did produce; work so ultimately meaningful that it could serve as a jumping-off point for gaining a perspective on the subsequent cultural achievements of others who worked along similar lines. Nonetheless, that was the case: a seemingly magical coming-together of two artistic and technical power-houses who produced an undeniably influential body of work which, if it did not always aggrandize Spain, rendered to Spain a significance that was unforgettable in a more general scheme of cultural noteworthiness.

I have grappled with this vast perspective for over a decade, while continuing to cultivate the panoply of related scholarly interests and public activities that have characterized my professional life for the past nearly half-century. While I have availed myself of what little has been ventured concerning the Tenisons,...

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