Bummock: Tennyson Research Centre

New exhibition brings attention to rarely-seen items from the Tennyson Research Centre

Bummock: Tennyson Research Centre is the result of a long-term artistic investigation by artists Danica Maier, Andrew Bracey and Sarah Bennett, in the Tennyson Research Centre (TRC), Lincoln. This archive holds what is considered to be the most significant collection in the world relating to the Lincolnshire-born nineteenth century poet, Alfred Tennyson. Though the archive houses a wealth of objects and information on the poet himself, it is the lesser-known and intriguing content concerning his wider family and relationships that has been central to the creation of new work by all three artists.

Over the past four years, the artists have explored the archive with an intention to examine and respond to what they call the ‘Bummock’; a term used to describe the large part of an iceberg hidden beneath the surface of the sea. This exhibition forms part of a wider research project, ‘Bummock: Artists in Archives’, led by Danica Maier and Andrew Bracey, which is investigating, researching and using unseen parts of archives as catalysts for new works.

This exhibition shows new works by each artist, alongside the objects, memories and stories selected from the archive that inspired them. Danica was most taken by Alfred Tennyson’s great niece Fryn (Wynifried) Tennyson Jesse. Her new work looks at Fryn’s legacy and her personal relationships, through the lens of Danica’s own family and female relations. Andrew’s interest was captured by the drawings and sketchbooks of Alfred and Emily Tennyson’s eldest son, Hallam. His work explores these objects as unique visual records giving a fascinating and alternative insight into the upbringing and daily life of Tennyson’s children specifically, and Victorian life in general. Sarah’s research took as its starting point Tennyson’s immediate family and the various illnesses from which most of the male family members suffered. She then investigated the situation of the female Tennysons who were excluded from a university education, unlike their male counterparts.

More about ‘Bummock: Artists in Archives’ can be found at: https://www.bummock.org

Thanks go to all who have supported the development of this exhibition, the staff at Lincolnshire Archives and The Collection Museum, Lincoln and the team of dedicated freelancers and businesses who have made this possible, including but not limited to Joff + Ollie Studio, Miriam Bean, NCCD, Reece Straw, Bradley Oliver-White and Iain Edwards.

Exhibition dates:

8th January - 20th February 2022

Thursday - Monday, 10am - 4pm.

Free entry

Events and Workshops


Bummock: Art and Archives Discussion

2-7pm, 19 February, Courtyard Gallery, The Collection Museum 

2-3pm - Opportunity to view exhibition (with artists available for questions)

3-4.30pm - Presentation and Roundtable Discussion

5-7pm - Book Launch and closing celebration

This event will take the current Collection exhibition Bummock: Tennyson Research Centre as a starting point for a wider discussion on artists working with and in archives. A catalyst for discussion will centre around a presentation by Sue Breakell, Principal Research Fellow and Archive Director at the University of Brighton Design Archives, based on her essay titled 'I am a part of all that I have met': Dressing and Metamorphosis in the archive in the recently published book that accompanies the exhibition. Following this the audience are invited to participate with Sue and artists Sarah Bennett, Andrew Bracey and Danica Maier in a roundtable discussion chaired by art historian Sian Vaughan. Booking is essential for this event. 

Following the event there will be a book launch and closing celebration of the exhibition with refreshments served. 

Please note: The Muse Coffee Bar will be open from 4.30pm - 7pm for the closing event.




Book Launch and Closing Celebration

5-7pm, 19 February, The Collection Museum

Join us for a closing event with the artists Sarah Bennett, Andrew Bracey and Danica Maier as they celebrate the exhibition and a book launch of the publication arising from the project.

The Muse Coffee Bar will be open from 4.30pm - 7pm


Image credit: Notebooks containing drawings by Hallam Tennyson as a child (TRC/BC/7624), photograph by Reece Straw