(Roughly) Daily

Pre-Raphaelite Photography…


Philosopher Thomas Carlyle

When Julia Margaret Cameron (1815–1879) received her first camera in December 1863 as a gift from her daughter and son-in-law, Cameron was forty-eight, a mother of six, and a deeply religious, well-read, somewhat eccentric friend of many notable Victorian artists, poets, and thinkers. “From the first moment I handled my lens with a tender ardour,” she wrote, “and it has become to me as a living thing, with voice and memory and creative vigour.” Condemned by some contemporaries for sloppy craftsmanship, she purposely avoided the perfect resolution and minute detail that glass negatives permitted, opting instead for carefully directed light, soft focus, and long exposures that allowed the sitters’ slight movement to register in her pictures, instilling them with an uncommon sense of breath and life.

The exhibition will feature masterpieces from each of Cameron’s three major bodies of work: portraits of men “great thro’ genius,” including painter G. F. Watts, poet Alfred, Lord Tennyson, scientist Sir John Herschel, and philosopher and historian Thomas Carlyle; women “great thro’ love,” including relatives, neighbors, and household staff, often titled as literary, historical, or biblical subjects; and staged groupings such as her illustrations for Tennyson’s Idylls of the King or her Annunciation in the style of Perugino.

Julia Jackson, when she was Mrs. Herbert Duckworth. Widowed by Duckworth, Jackson married Sir Leslie Stephen, and gave birth to the painter Vanessa Bell and the writer Virginia Woolf.

Read the full story and see more photos at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, where the first exhibition of Cameron’s work mounted in New York in a generation is on show through early January.


As we say “cheese,” we might spare a thought for Arthur Rackham; he died on this date in 1939.  One of the leading illustrators of the ‘Golden Age’ of British book illustration (1900-1914), Rackham worked in a style that, while characterized at the time as “a fusion of a northern European ‘Nordic’ style strongly influenced by the Japanese woodblock tradition of the 19th century,” clearly owed a debt to the Pre-Raphaelites.

Rackham won a gold medal at the Milan International Exhibition in 1906 and another at the Barcelona International Exposition in 1912; his works were included in numerous exhibitions, including one at the Louvre in Paris in 1914.

“Freya,” one of Rackham’s illustrations for Wagner’s “Das Rheingold” (1910)


Self-portrait, 1934




Written by (Roughly) Daily

September 6, 2013 at 1:01 am

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