Oxted & District History Society - Talk
Oxted & District History Society

Dr. Judy Hill, a specialist in Victorian Social History, gave an illustrated lecture to the Oxted & District History Society on ‘Julia Margaret Cameron – Victorian Photographer’.

Julia Margaret Cameron (1815-1879), unlike many Victorian photographers, but like Oscar Rejlander, Fox Talbot and Lewis Carroll regarded photography as an art form.  She was given a camera by her daughter in 1863 and took many photographs, using the complicated collodion process, for the next 14 years.  She was an eccentric, flamboyant character, living a chaotic lifestyle and only in recent years has her work been appreciated, particularly in America.

Julia’s mother’s family was French and her father was in the Indian Civil Service.  In Ceylon she met and married Charles Cameron, 20 years her senior, a major landowner in Ceylon.  They moved back to Britain, living near their friends, the Tennysons, in Freshwater, Isle of Wight.  Julia had many prominent friends among the literati and art world, including Thackeray and GF Watts as well as Tennyson.  In 1875, the Camerons left the Isle of Wight to return to Ceylon, where Julia continued to take photographs of friends and natives.  She often took photographs in soft focus, criticised by contemporaries but she is now regarded as a leading pioneer in photography.


Julia Margaret Cameron- Victorian Photographer