Or are you looking for Search the Archives?

Please complete the form to email this item.

Photograph - The Parting of Sir Lancelot and Queen Guinevere
  • The Parting of Sir Lancelot and Queen Guinevere
    Cameron, Julia Margaret, born 1815 - died 1879
  • Enlarge image

The Parting of Sir Lancelot and Queen Guinevere

  • 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:

    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 seated bearded man (Mr. Read as Sir Lancelot) in profile clasping the hand and leaning his chin upon the head of a seated woman (Mrs. Hardinge as Queen Guinevere).

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: 35 cm image, Width: 28 cm image, Height: 43 cm mount, Width: 33 cm 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, 'The Parting of Sir Lancelot and Queen Guinevere' (sitters Mr. Read, Mrs. Hardinge), albumen print, 1874

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

no. 156
Ahlund, Mikael (ed.), The Pre-Raphaelites Stockholm : Nationalmuseum, 2009
Hill, Brian. Julia Margaret Cameron: A Victorian Family Portrait. New York: St. Martin's Press, 1973, p. 21.
Ford, Colin and Cox, Julian. Julia Margaret Cameron: The Complete Photographs. London: Thames and Hudson, 2003. Cat. no. 1170, p.474, ill.
Gernsheim, Helmut. Julia Margaret Cameron: Her Life and Photographic Work. Millerton, N.Y.: Aperture, 1975, p. 159.
Lukitsh, Joanne. Cameron: Her Work and Career. Rochester, N.Y.: International Museum of Photography at George Eastman House, 1986, p.32.
Cox, Julian. Julia Margaret Cameron: Photographs from the J. Paul Getty Museum. In Focus, edited by Weston Naef. Los Angeles: J. Paul Getty Museum, 1996, p. 97.
Weaver, Mike. Julia Margaret Cameron 1815-1879. Boston: Little Brown and Company, 1984, p.78.
Hamilton, Violet. Annals of My Glass Gouse: Photographs by Julia Margaret Cameron. Seattle: University of Washington Press, 1996, pl. 15.
Wolf, Sylvia (et al). Julia Margaret Cameron's Women. London: The Institute of Chicago and London: Yale University Press, 1998. Repro., plate 39.

Labels and date

Label for 'Making It Up: Photographic Fictions' (3 May 2013 - 12 January 2014):

Julia Margaret Cameron (1815–79)
The Parting of Sir Lanceleot and Queen Guinevere
From Idylls of the King

Alfred Tennyson, the poet laureate, asked Cameron to illustrate his Idylls of the King, a collection of poems based on the medieval legends of King Arthur. Dissatisfied with the small woodcut copies that were published, she decided to produce an edition with original photographic prints..

Albumen print
Museum no. 89-1970


Photographic paper


Albumen process

Subjects depicted

Armour; Queens; Woman; Man; Knights




Prints, Drawings & Paintings Collection

Large image request

Please confirm you are using these images within the following terms and conditions, by acknowledging each of the following key points:

Please let us know how you intend to use the images you will be downloading.