Julia Margaret Cameron (1815–79) was one of the most important and innovative photographers of the 19th century. Drawn entirely from the V&A’s rich collection of Cameron photographs, this exhibition in the Multimedia Art Museum will celebrate the bicentenary of her birth and mark 150 years since her first museum exhibition, at the South Kensington Museum (now the Victoria and Albert Museum) in 1865.
The exhibition will include more than 250 photographs by Cameron — including 87 she sold and gave to the museum in 1865 — and five letters she wrote to Sir Henry Cole, museum’s founding director. In addition to producing evocative portraits of male and female subjects, Cameron staged tableaux and posed her sitters — friends, family and servants — in simulation of allegorical paintings.
Her photographs were not only beautiful but also rule-breaking: purposely out of focus, and often including scratches, smudges and other traces of the artist’s process.
Image: Peggy Ashcroft and Laurence Olivier, Romeo and Juliet, New Theatre, J. W. Debenham, 1935 © Victoria and Albert Museum, London