Important Australian + International Fine Art
3 May 2023


(British, 1815 - 1879)

Albumen silver print from glass negative

25.0 x 18.5 cm (image)

signed lower right below image: Julia Margaret Cameron
dated and inscribed below image lower left: From Life April 1867.
bears Colnaghi blindstamp below image

$30,000 – $50,000
Sold for $122,727 (inc. BP) in Auction 74 - 3 May 2023, Melbourne

The Estate of Joyce Evans, Melbourne


Distant Relations, Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago, 8 May – 18 July 1993 (another example)
Julia Margaret Cameron’s Women, Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago, 19 September 1998 – 10 January 10 1999; The Museum of Modern Art, New York, 27 January – 4 May 1999; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, San Francisco, 27 August – 30 November 1999 (another example)
Alfred Stieglitz and the 19th Century, Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago, 31 October 2015 – 27 March 27, 2016 (another example)
Julia Margaret Cameron: A Bicentenary Exhibition, Victoria & Albert Museum, London, 28 November 2015 – 21 February 2016; Multimedia Art Museum, Moscow, 18 November 2014 – 1 February 2015; Museum of Fine Arts, Ghent, 14 March – 14 June 2015; Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 14 August – 25 October 2015; Fundacion Mapfre, Madrid, 8 March – 8 May 2016
Mitsubishi Ichigokan Museum, Tokyo, 29 June – 25 September 2016 (another example)


Wolf, S., Julia Margaret Cameron’s Women, Yale University Press, New Haven & London, 1998, pl. 59, p. 73 (illus. front cover, another example)
Cox, J. & Ford, C., Julia Margaret Cameron: The Complete Photographs, Thames & Hudson, London, 2003, cat. 307 (another example)
Weiss, M., Julia Margaret Cameron, MACK in association with V&A Publishing, London, 2015 (illus. front cover)

Catalogue text

Julia Margaret Cameron received her first camera as a gift at the age 48. Her children had all left home and the camera was offered as an amusement with which she might pass the time. Thrilled by the artistic potential of the medium however, she took to photography with energy and enthusiasm, converting a chicken coop into her studio and a coal bin into her darkroom, and in her hands, it became something much more significant. As she recalled, ‘from the first moment I handled my lens with a tender ardour, and it has become to me as a living thing, with voice and memory and creative vigour.’1 Renowned for the creation of imaginative tableaux and penetrating portraits, Cameron was a pioneering figure in the history of photography, all the more unusual in Victorian Britain because of her gender.
While Cameron photographed many famous faces, including Charles Darwin, Alfred Lord Tennyson and Charles Dickens – all of whom lived nearby on the Isle of Wight – family members also featured in her work. Her niece, Julia Jackson, known as a great beauty, was the subject of more than twenty photographic portraits. This image, arguably Cameron’s most iconic portrait of Jackson, was taken shortly before her first marriage and signed by the artist, it is inscribed ‘From Life April 1867’. Its composition is simple and direct, focussing on Jackson’s face framed by long flowing hair, and the lighting, which casts half of her face in shadow, emphasises her distinctive and elegant features. Jackson may be familiar to many because of the striking resemblance between her and her daughter, the writer Virginia Woolf.2 A poetic study of youthful grace and beauty, this photograph also reveals something of the subject’s character as she confidently returns the camera’s gaze. Prints of this portrait are held in numerous public collections including the Victoria and Albert Museum, London, and the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York.
The contemporary photographic fraternity was critical of Cameron’s work, claiming her technique was poor and ridiculing her preference for softly focused images. It is precisely this aspect of her approach however, which gives her portraits a sense of timelessness, imbuing them with a visual poetry and symbolic meaning that transcends the documentary and descriptive. 
1. Cameron, J. M., Annals of My Glass House, 1874, manuscript, p. 3, V&A · ’Annals Of My Glass House’ By Julia Margaret Cameron (vam.ac.uk), accessed 3 April 2023.
2. Following the death of her first husband, Jackson remarried in 1878 and Virginia was born four years later. Virginia Woolf wrote the first book on Cameron’s photography which was published in 1926.