We need your help

Hello. We are working to improve our collections online and would like to understand better how our visitors use our site. Please could you spare two minutes to answer some questions?
Take the survey
No thanks. Continue to the V&A website

Julia Margaret Cameron

Plan a visit

Beauty, you're under arrest. I have a camera, and I'm not afraid to use it.

Julia Margaret Cameron

One of the most important and innovative photographers of the 19th century, Julia Margaret Cameron had close links to the South Kensington Museum (now the V&A) throughout her career – her first museum exhibition in 1865 was held here and was home to her portrait studio in 1868. Today, our collection includes over 250 of Cameron's photographs, and letters from Cameron to Sir Henry Cole, the Museum's founding director.

Read more
See less
Julia Margaret Cameron (1815 – 79) was an ambitious and devoted pioneer of photography. Best known for her powerful portraits, she also posed her sitters – friends, family and servants – as characters from biblical, historical or allegorical stories. She was visionary in her belief of the ‘divine’ power of the medium, daring in her experiments with image making and persistent in the promotion of her work. Her photographs broke the rules: they were intentionally out of focus and often included scratches, smudges and other traces of her process. The South Kensington Museum (now the V&A) was not only the sole museum to exhibit Cameron’s work in her lifetime, but also the institution that collected her photographs most extensively in her day.

Exploring Julia Margaret Cameron

Photo of Call, I Follow, I Follow, Let Me Die!, photograph by Julia Margaret Cameron, 1867, England. Museum no. 15-1939 © Victoria and Albert Museum, London
Call, I Follow, I Follow, Let Me Die!, photograph by Julia Margaret Cameron, 1867, England. Museum no. 15-1939 © Victoria and Albert Museum, London

Photo of The Double Star, photograph by Julia Margaret Cameron, 1864, England. Museum no. 45158 @ Victoria and Albert Museum, London
The Double Star, photograph by Julia Margaret Cameron, 1864, England. Museum no. 45158 @ Victoria and Albert Museum, London

Photo of The Dream, photograph by Julia Margaret Cameron, 1869, England. Museum no. 937-1913. @ Victoria and Albert Museum, London
The Dream, photograph by Julia Margaret Cameron, 1869, England. Museum no. 937-1913. @ Victoria and Albert Museum, London

Photo of Charles Darwin, photograph by Julia Margaret Cameron, 1868, printed 1875, England. Museum no. 14-1939. © Victoria and Albert Museum, London
Charles Darwin, photograph by Julia Margaret Cameron, 1868, printed 1875, England. Museum no. 14-1939. © Victoria and Albert Museum, London

Photo of Circe, photograph by Julia Margaret Cameron, 1865, England. Museum no. 45140. © Victoria and Albert Museum, London
Circe, photograph by Julia Margaret Cameron, 1865, England. Museum no. 45140. © Victoria and Albert Museum, London

Photo of Julia Jackson, photograph by Julia Margaret Cameron, 1867, England. Museum no. PH.361-1981. © Victoria and Albert Museum, London
Julia Jackson, photograph by Julia Margaret Cameron, 1867, England. Museum no. PH.361-1981. © Victoria and Albert Museum, London

Photo of Paul and Virginia, photograph, Julia Margaret Cameron, 1864, England. Museum no. 45148. © Victoria and Albert Museum, London
Paul and Virginia, photograph, Julia Margaret Cameron, 1864, England. Museum no. 45148. © Victoria and Albert Museum, London

Photo of The Passing of King Arthur, photograph by Julia Margaret Cameron, 1874, England. Museum no. 27-1939. © Victoria and Albert Museum, London
The Passing of King Arthur, photograph by Julia Margaret Cameron, 1874, England. Museum no. 27-1939. © Victoria and Albert Museum, London

Photo of Hosanna, photography by Julia Margaret Cameron, 1865, England. Museum no. PH.245-1982. © Victoria and Albert Museum, London
Hosanna, photography by Julia Margaret Cameron, 1865, England. Museum no. PH.245-1982. © Victoria and Albert Museum, London

Learn more about Julia Margaret Cameron

Background image: Background image: Call, I Follow, I Follow, Let Me Die!, photograph by Julia Margaret Cameron, 1867, England. Museum no. 15-1939 © Victoria and Albert Museum, London