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Photograph - Sir Galahad and the Pale Nun
  • Sir Galahad and the Pale Nun
    Cameron, Julia Margaret, born 1815 - died 1879
  • Enlarge image

Sir Galahad and the Pale Nun

  • Object:


  • Place of origin:

    Isle of Wight (photographed)

  • Date:

    September 1874 (photographed)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Cameron, Julia Margaret, born 1815 - died 1879 (photographer)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Albumen print from wet collodion glass negative

  • Credit Line:

    Given by Miss Agnes May Ffytche, 1927

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    Prints & Drawings Study Room, level F, case X312, shelf I

In 1874 Alfred Tennyson, the Poet Laureate, invited Cameron to make photographic illustrations to Idylls of the King, his series of narrative poems based on the legends of King Arthur. After her large photographs were published as small, wood-cut copies, Cameron decided to produce an edition illustrated by original photographic prints accompanied by hand-written extracts from the poems printed in facsimile. She claimed to have made as many as 245 exposures to arrive at the 25 she finally published in two volumes in 1874 and 1875.

Physical description

A photograph of a standing man (Mr. Coxhead) in profile wearing a helmet and chain 'maille' with cross on chest (Sir Galahad) being embraced by a woman in profile (Mary Hillier) in nun's dress.

Place of Origin

Isle of Wight (photographed)


September 1874 (photographed)


Cameron, Julia Margaret, born 1815 - died 1879 (photographer)

Materials and Techniques

Albumen print from wet collodion glass negative


Height: 350 mm image, Width: 270 mm image, Height: 430 mm mount, Width: 330 mm mount

Object history note

Originally part of a bound folio volume containing 11 photographs by Cameron and 11 pages of verse text by Tennyson and 3 other text pages (two photographs are missing, the frontispiece image of Tennyson and the last image, 'The Passing of Arthur'). Volume 1 of two albums of illustrations to Tennyson's 'Idylls of the King and other Poems' published by Henry S. King & Co., 1874-75). Each photograph is mounted on bluish mounts with gilt borders.

Descriptive line

Photograph by Julia Margaret Cameron, 'Sir Galahad and the Pale Nun' (sitters Mr. Coxhead, Mary Hillier), albumen print, 1874

Bibliographic References (Citation, Note/Abstract, NAL no)

Ford, Colin and Cox, Julian. Julia Margaret Cameron: The Complete Photographs. London: Thames and Hudson, 2003. Cat. no. 1169, p.474, ill.
Lukitsh, Joanne. Cameron: Her Work and Career. Rochester, N.Y.: International Museum of Photography at George Eastman House, 1986, p.30.
Weaver, Mike. Julia Margaret Cameron 1815-1879. Boston: Little Brown and Company, 1984, p.79.


Photographic paper


Albumen process; Photography

Subjects depicted

Holy Grail; Nuns; Knights; Servants




Prints, Drawings & Paintings Collection

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