Laurence Alma - Tadema

Laurence Alma-Tadema (1865-1940). Courtesy Wikipedia Commons.

Laurence Alma-Tadema (August 1865 -12 March 1940) was an English poet and prose writer of the late 19th and early 20th centuries who wrote in many genres.[1]


She was born Laurense Tadema in Brussels, the eldest daughter of Dutch painter Lawrence Alma-Tadema (1836–1912) and his 1st wife, Marie-Pauline Gressin (Dumoulin). [2] Her stepmother, Lady Laura Theresa Alma-Tadema (1852–1909), and sister, Anna Alma-Tadema (1867–1943) were also noted artists.[3]

Laurence Alma-Tadema lived in "The Fair Haven", Wittersham, Kent. She involved herself with music and plays with the villagers and their children, going on to construct a building to seat 100 people, used for musical concerts and plays, which she named "Hall of Happy Hours".[4]

Alma-Tadema, who had socialist leanings, travelled to America in 1907–08 to tour the country widely.[4] She gave a series of readings on the "Meaning of Happiness," which proved exceedingly popular.[4] She also spoke on the plight of divided Poland and asked her audience to express their feelings for this cause.[5][6]

Alma Tadema had a close association with Poland. She was secretary of the "Poland and the Polish Victims Relief Fund" from 1915 to 1939. She was an admirer and long-term associate of Ignacy Jan Paderewski both as far as his music and political activities were concerned, notably on Polish independence.[7] Alma-Tadema maintained a long-correspondence from him from 1915 to the end of her life. She never married and died in a nursing home in London in 1940.[1][7]


Her debut novel, Love's Martyr, was published in 1886. In addition to her own collections of stories and poems, which she often published herself, Alma-Tadema wrote 2 novels, songs, and works on drama; she also made translations. She contributed widely to periodicals, notably The Yellow Book, and also edited one herself.[1] Some of Alma-Tadema's plays were successfully produced in Germany.[4] The Orlando Project says of Alma-Tadema's writing that the "characteristic tone is one of intense emotion, but in prose and verse she has the gift of compression".[1]


Alma-Tadema's poem "If No One Ever Marries Me", written in 1897 and published in Realms of Unknown Kings,[8] was included in 1900 in the musical score, The Daisy Chain,: Cycle of twelve songs of childhood by Liza Lehmann,[9] and in 1922 in the musical score Little girls composed by Louise Sington.(Citation needed) It was revived as a song in the 21st century by Natalie Merchant on her double album Leave Your Sleep.[10][11]



  • Realms of Unknown Kings. London: Grant Richards, 1897.
  • Songs of Womanhood. London: Grant Richards, 1903.
  • A Few Lyrics. London: Elkin Mathews, 1909.
  • A Gleaner's Sheaf: Verses. London: St. Martin's Press, 1927.
  • The Divine Orbit: Seventeen sonnets. Wittersham, Kent, UK: printed by Finden Brown, 1933.


  • One Way of Love: A play. Edinburgh: R. & R. Clark, 1893.
  • Four plays. London: Green Sheaf, 1905.



Children's booksEdit

  • Songs of Childhood. Wrotham, Kent, UK: Herb o'Grace, 1902.
  • Tales from my Garden: Three fairy tales. London: The Green Sheaf, 1906.


  • Maurice Maeterlinck, Pelleas and Melisanda and the Sightless: Two plays. London: Walter Scott, 1895.


  • The Herb o'Grace (periodical). Wrotham, Kent, UK: 1901-1902.

Except where noted, bibliographical information courtesy WorldCat.[12]

See alsoEdit


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 Susan Brown, Patricia Clements, & Isobel Grundy, Laurence Alma-Tadema, Orlando Project: Women's Writing in the British Isles from the Beginning to the Present. Web, August 16, 2011.
  2. She appears in the painting by her father This is our corner (, 1873, also known as Laurense and Anna Alma-Tadema, Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam) as the young girl in the foreground holding papers. Her younger sister Anna is shown lying on the bed in the background.
  3. Source: (Undated). "Lady Laura Alma-Tadema". Fine Art Database. Antiques and Fine Art Magazine. Retrieved 16 August 2011. 
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 Unattributed (1910–1912). "Miss Laurence Alma-Tadema". Every Woman's Encyclopaedia. London S.N.. Retrieved 16 August 2011. 
  5. Unattributed (19 November 1907). "ASKS WOMEN TO AID POLAND.; Laurence Alma Tadema Wants Them to Help Sienklewicz's Plan.". New York Times. Retrieved 16 August 2011. 
  6. Unatributed (10 February 1908). "A RECIPE FOR HAPPINESS.; Miss Alma Tadema Here to Tell Americans How to Attain It.". Retrieved 13 August 2011. 
  7. 7.0 7.1 Ignacy Jan Paderewski. Translated by Laurence Alma Tadema. Originally published 1911. (Winter 2001). "Chopin: A Discourse". Polish Music Journal 4 (2). ISSN 1521–6039. Retrieved 16 August 2011. 
  8. Unattributed. "Laurence Alma-Tadema - "If No One Ever Marries Me"". ArtMagick Illustrated Poetry Collection. ArtMagick. Retrieved 17 August 2011. 
  9. "Album Information – LEHMANN: Daisy Chain (The) / Bird Songs / Four Cautionary Tales (English Song, Vol. 8)". ClassicsOnline. Naxos Digital Services Ltd.. 2011. Retrieved 17 August 2011. 
  10. Merchant, Natalie (February 2010). "Natalie Merchant sings old poems to life". TED2010. TED Conference LLC. Retrieved 13 August 2011. . See Interactive transcript for referred fact.
  11. "If No One Ever Marries Me – Laurence Alma-Tadema (1865–1940) (The Official Natalie Merchant Website | Leave Your Sleep | Read | If No One Ever Marries Me)". The Official Natalie Merchant Website. Retrieved 17 August 2011. 
  12. Search results = au: Laurence Alma-Tadema, WorldCat, OCLC Online Computer Library Center Inc. Web, June 27, 2013.

External linksEdit

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