‘With voice and memory and creative vigour’: Julia Margaret Cameron (1815–1879)

Pre-Raphaelite Reflections

Henry Herschel Hay Cameron (later The Cameron Studio), 'Julia Margaret Cameron', 1873. Albumen print, 24.4 x 20.3 cm. Source: National Portrait Gallery. Henry Herschel Hay Cameron (later The Cameron Studio), Julia Margaret Cameron, 1873. Albumen print, 24.4 x 20.3 cm. Source: National Portrait Gallery.

This year marks the bicentenary of the birth of Julia Margaret Cameron, the pioneer Victorian photographer whose work has rightly been praised by scholars and the public alike. Indeed, the V&A will honour the occasion with a large exhibition of 100 of her photographs this November, while Will Gompertz recently made a case for her as the face of the new £20 note. Previous shows include the 2003 retrospective at the National Portrait Gallery, her inclusion in The Pre-Raphaelite Lens: British Photography and Painting in 2010, and a display at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in 2013. I forget how or when I discovered her photographs but they’ve been a passion of mine for several years, making her my favourite photographer. It’s appropriate, then, to write this for the 11th June, on which day in 1815…

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