Jean Ingelow, British poet and novelist

I had never heard of Jean Ingelow before I saw this carte-de-visite, but her pose and expression charmed me.  It was made by the studio of Elliott & Fry in London, where she lived.  The daughter of an English banker father and a Scottish mother, she was the oldest of ten children.

Jean Ingelow (1820-1897) published several volumes of poetry, novels and children’s books.  She enjoyed considerable success in her lifetime in both Great Britain and the United States.  She was well-liked by the literary community, becoming close friends with Alfred Lord Tennyson and John Ruskin.  The writer Gerald Massey proposed to her, but she declined.

A short biography of Ingelow can be found at the website of the Poetry Foundation (  Her Wikipedia page has additional information.  A much longer introduction to her life and work, including several studio portraits, can be found at

Jean Ingelow 2


4 thoughts on “Jean Ingelow, British poet and novelist

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    1. Thank you! I’m sure few people have heard of her. So many successful authors fade from public consciousness after a few decades. A few become more popular posthumously. I think I’d rather be one of the former than one of the latter!

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  1. She looks very pensive which I would think would be good for a writer. I would like to think she holds a handkerchief in her hand but I don’t believe it is. And I wonder what is on the medallion about her neck. The token one wears as closely as that is so often a sweet memento.

    I wasn’t familiar with her but I’m intrigued now. Her poem “Winter” is quite strong. I also discovered the generosity of a “copyright dinner” through the link you shared. 😊. And now I am on a quest for long ago treasure…as it seems she wrote a children’s story about a faery….thank you, Brad for a lovely poetical share! 🌷

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You’re very observant, Suzanne! I didn’t do justice to Miss Ingelow’s accomplishments with this post, but I had difficulty deciding which information to include. The “copyright dinners” are a perfect example of something readers might have found interesting. Regarding the object which you thought might be a handkerchief, I assumed it was a white rose attached to her dress. She seems to have moved her hand slightly as the photo was being taken, causing blurriness there. If you find her story about a faery, I’d be interested to hear your thoughts on it!

      Liked by 1 person

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