|The Ulster (1874) G F Watts|
|Mrs Andrew Hichens (May Prinsep) (1885) Frederic Leighton|
The Hichens not only kept a house in London but also Monkshatch in Compton, near Guildford, Surrey.
|Monkshatch, Compton, Surrey (demolished 1950s)|
It is undoubted how deeply May and Andrew cared for Watts, 'the beloved little man' as they referred to him. When the Watts moved into Monkshatch, they turned the living room into a space Watts could paint in, Andrew remarking 'I told you I built that studio for you'. The Library was theirs to be alone in, but if they wanted company they could roll back the dividing panel and watch Andrew and May at dinner. Watts remarked to his wife on one such evening 'I wonder if any other roof in England covers four happier people.' When Mr and Mrs Watts finally moved out, they went only a short distance, building a house in the village, called Limnerslease.
|May at the window at Limnerslease (1880s/90s)|
Two years later May's brother paid a visit from Australia and it was the first time he had seen May since 1866. Harry Prinsep (1844-1922) had visited his father's estate in Australia (also called Belvedere after the estate in Bengal) whilst on his 'grand Tour' after schooling and fell in love with the land and a woman. Even on the other side of the world he had run into old friends. Having met the Tennyson family while staying with family in England, he became firm friends once more with Hallam Tennyson, son of the Poet Laureate, while Hallam was serving as Governor of South Australia (1899-1903), then Governor General of Australia (1903-4).
|Hallam Tennyson (1896) Alexander Bassano|
|South Stoneham Church, Swaythling, Southampton|
|Miss Waistell and Lady May Tennyson 1925|
(image from Lincs to the Past website)
She died 19th July 1931. Hallam is buried in the family tomb at St Mary's Church at Freshwater, alongside his mother and first wife. On the wall of the church is a plaque to May...
|Tennyson tomb, overlooking the River Yar, Freshwater|
Not far along the row are the graves of Henry and Sara Prinsep
|Plaque to May inside St Mary's Church|
|Ashes interred at Watts Memorial Chapel cemetery, Compton, nr Guildford|
|Detail of above|
|All Her Paths Are Peace (1866) Julia Margaret Cameron|
To find out more about May's brother Harry, Malcolm Allbrook's Henry Prinsep Empire is free to download here.