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  • Object:


  • Place of origin:

    Isle of Wight (photographed)

  • Date:

    1874 (photographed)

  • Artist/Maker:

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

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Albumen print from wet collodion glass negative

  • Credit Line:

    The Royal Photographic Society Collection at the V&A, acquired with the generous assistance of the National Lottery Heritage Fund and Art Fund

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    Prints & Drawings Study Room, level F, case XRP, shelf 91

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 woman (May Prinsep) seated in profile with untied long hair and holding an embroidered square of fabric upon her lap.

Place of Origin

Isle of Wight (photographed)


1874 (photographed)


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

Materials and Techniques

Albumen print from wet collodion glass negative


Height: 485 mm mount, Width: 390 mm mount

Object history note

This photograph is a version of a photograph that was originally part of a bound folio volume containing 13 photographs by Cameron and 11 pages of verse text by Tennyson and 3 other text pages. 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, 'Elaine' (sitter May Prinsep), 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. 1166, p.474, ill.
Lukitsh, Joanne. Cameron: Her Work and Career. Rochester, N.Y.: International Museum of Photography at George Eastman House, 1986, p.35.


Photographic paper


Albumen process; Photography

Subjects depicted

Woman; Romantic love


Photographs; Portraits; The Royal Photographic Society; RPS Digitisation Project


Royal Photographic Society Collection

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