“A LUMINOUS AND VISIONARY ART”: JULIA MARGARET CAMERON’S PHOTOGRAPHIC PORTRAITS OF LORD TENNYSON AND HIS FRIENDS, 1893, INCLUDING DARWIN AND HERSCHEL
CAMERON, Julia Margaret. Alfred, Lord Tennyson and His Friends. London: T. Fisher Unwin, 1893. Folio (15 by 18 inches), original beige cloth gilt rebacked and recornered in brown morocco, uncut. $7200.
Limited first edition, number 209 of 400 copies, of this collection of 26 rich photogravures, most by significant Victorian photographer Julia Margaret Cameron, depicting such notables as Tennyson, Browning, Longfellow, Carlyle, Gladstone, Herschel and Darwin.
"Julia Margaret Cameron was not the only Victorian woman photographer, but for most others, however enthusiastic, photography was primarily a means of creating a family record. Although her images are often deeply informed by her feelings for her sitter, they go far beyond the personal to epitomize particular qualities or essences—typically, genius in men and beauty in women" (DNB). This album, published 14 years after Cameron's death, presents many of her finest and most famous portraits, including an iconic image of the Poet Laureate: "Tennyson, a reluctant model, was persuaded to sit for her on many occasions: her best-known portrait of him shows him in profile, swathed in a cloak, with a book in his hand. It was a favorite of his, and he famously called it The Dirty Monk" (DNB). "Cameron's was a luminous and visionary art of photography, pursued against the positivistic tendency of the day" (Frizot, 195). Text by Anne Thackeray Ritchie (author and William Makepeace Thackeray's eldest daughter). Introduction by Cameron's son, Henry Herschel Hay Cameron, some of whose own work is also included. Contemporary gift inscription.
Images fine. Light marginal dampstaining to Dirty Monk plate (not affecting image), front endpapers. Some rubbing and soiling to cloth, as usual. Very good condition.