Julia Margaret Cameron was a pioneering 19th-century photographer whose work appears in the exhibition ‘Julia Margaret Cameron: from the Victoria and Albert Museum, London’ (14 August to 25 October 2015) on the Gallery's upper level.
This tour of artworks from the Art Gallery of NSW collection - on display in other parts of the Gallery - helps put her photographs in a broader context. It features works by some of her artistic peers, including her friend GF Watts, exploring similar themes, including allegorical scenes from biblical and mythological sources and intimate portraits of women.
There are also photographs by Australian pictorialists Harold Cazneaux and Frederick A Joyner, whose portraits of young women and children recall the tender yet melancholic sensibility of Cameron’s own. Cazneaux in particular was aware of Cameron’s work and owned a copy of the photographic journal ‘Camera work’ that featured a photogravure of her portrait of the actress Ellen Terry.
19th c European art
George Frederic Watts
Artemis and Hyperion, (circa 1881)
To stage this allegorical scene derived from Greek mythology, Watts used Arthur Prinsep, Cameron's nephew, as his model.
15th–19th c European art
Beatrice Cenci, (1857)
Beatrice Cenci was executed in the 1500s after arranging for her abusive father to be murdered. She is part of Cameron's pantheon of strong female characters and is found in several of her photographs.