Nineteenth century British poet, novelist, and chlidren’s author Jean Ingelow was born in Lincolnshire, England to a banker and his Scottish wife. The family moved to Ipswich and then London, where Ingelow remained throughout her life.
Ingelow began publishing poems in periodicals as a girl, under the pseudonym Orris, and later published some of her work anonymously. Many of her long narrative poems were written in blank verse, with themes of Christian faith and romantic love relayed with a tenderness of emotion. Her work was widely read during her lifetime, and she was known for her charitable “copyright dinners,” in which she hosted her poorer neighbors for dinners paid for with the profits from her books.
Ingelow’s first collection of poetry, A Rhyming Chronicle of Incidents and Feelings (1850), earned the praise of Alfred Lord Tennyson, with whom she built a lasting friendship. Over the course of her career Ingelow published numerous volumes of poetry, including Poems (1863), Song of Seven (1866), and A Story of Doom, and Other Poems (1867). Her prose includes the novels Allerton and Dreux (1851) and Off the Skelligs (1872), and the children’s tale Mopsa the Fairy (1869).
Ingelow died on July 2, 1897 and is buried at Brompton Cemetery in London.