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Camera lens belonging to Julia Margaret Cameron

  • Object:

    photographic lenses

  • Place of origin:

    Paris (made)

  • Date:

    1840-1860 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Jamin (manufacturer)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Brass, metal and glass

  • Credit Line:

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

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    Prints & Drawings Study Room, level F, case LNC, shelf SH1, box XRT55

Physical description

Cylindrical camera lens made of brass and glass with one large knob protruding from the side and another smaller nob on top.

Place of Origin

Paris (made)


1840-1860 (made)


Jamin (manufacturer)

Materials and Techniques

Brass, metal and glass

Marks and inscriptions

'JAMIN / PARIS / J A L P[?]'
engraved on brass tube

'H or T O P'
inscribed on lens ring


Height: 14 cm, Depth: 14 cm, Length: 30 cm

Object history note

The Jamin lens consisted of two separate groups of elements. It had rack and pinion focussing and a fixed aperture of f 3.6, a design invented by the Hungarian mathematician Joseph Max Petzval in 1840.

Brusius, Mirjam (2010). 'Impreciseness in Julia Margaret Cameron's Portrait Photographs', History of Photography, 34:4, 342-355.

It is known that the Jamin lens was given to the RPS by Alvin Landon Coburn.

Harrison, Graham. 'Julia Margaret Cameron and Britain's Photographic Heritage', Photo Histories, 19 April 2017

Descriptive line

Petzval type camera lens made by Jamin of Paris belonging to Julia Margaret Cameron


Brass; Metal; Glass


The Royal Photographic Society; Photographs


Royal Photographic Society Collection

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