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Julia Margaret Cameron 

Obituary for Julia Margaret Cameron. The Victoria magazine. Conducted by Emily Faithfull., vol. XXXII, November - April 1879, p.585-586.
MRS. CAMERON.—Julia Margaret Cameron, as she loved to subscribe herself in fine bold characters, was in many respects a remarkable woman. A few may still remember her as one of the three Miss Patties, whose varied gifts won for them in Calcutta society the names of- "Wit, Beauty, and Fashion." There she met and married Mr. Charles Hay Cameron, then legal member of Council, who still survives as the last of Bentham's personal disciples. But to most she will be better known as the hospitable occupant of a sea-side house at Freshwater, in the Isle of Wight, whither visitors were attracted by her own talents no less than by the reputation of her venerable husband. During this period of her life she first won publicity, about fifteen years ago, by her bold innovations in the art of photography. It was not only by the intrinsic merit of her pictures, but also by the interest associated with their subjects, that she succeeded in at once taking both the cultivated and the popular tastes. The heads of her neighbours, the Poet Laureate and Sir Henry Taylor, were among the first of her successes. After these came portraits of Browning, Carlyle, Darwin, Sir W. Herschel, and many other distinguished men whose intellectual features lent themselves readily to her peculiar process of photography. Having established her reputation in portraiture, she followed it up with imaginative representation either of individual personages in history and literature, or of easily recognised scenes. Colnaghi's gallery was the regular place of exhibition for her pictures season after season, though they also became familiar in many a shop window of the London streets. In our opinion, among the most effective of all was a fancifully-draped head of a young lady, a relation of her own, to which she gave the appropriate, title of Beatrice Cenci. It must be admitted that her illustrations to, the cabinet edition of Tennyson, published by Henry S. King. & Co., in 1875, do not rank among her happiest works. She did not claim for herself any original discovery in photographic processed. We believe that her only secret was to place her sitter far out of-focus; and to subject the plate to an unusually long exposure. With characteristic energy she worked at all the disagreeable details of chemical manipulation with her own hands, and gradually perfected herself with infinite assiduity. In looking at a series of her pictures it is instructive to observe how her improvement in artistic design kept pace with advance in technical skill. Her first efforts were on a small scale, scarcely larger than the cabinet size now in vogue; and they aimed at little more than faithful portraiture after the style common to all amateurs. Many of them also have sadly altered in colour at the present day. Her latest photographs, such as that of Beatrice Cenci, were almost as large as life. Expression of feature and arrangement of drapery were studied with as much care as by a professional painter in oils. The process of printing was performed with such thorough knowledge and watchfulness that, though these, too, were taken many years ago, no spots and no indications of fading are visible. When Mrs. Cameron, in company with her husband, resolved to follow her dearly-loved sons to Ceylon, her occupation of photographer was abandoned. But soon she sent for her cameras and chemicals, and again set to work with enthusiasm under a less clouded sky. Her death, we believe, happened suddenly, after but a brief illness. She is regretted by an exceptionally large circle of friends, to whom she was endeared by a rare warmth of heart, expansiveness of sympathy, and old-fashioned directness of expression. Few of them but possess some memorial of her in the products of her art, which she was wont to distribute with lavish generosity.—The Academy



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