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Research; May Princep as 'The Neapolitan' By J.M.Cameron

Hello, I am looking for information on this Julia Margaret Cameron photo 'The Neapolitan' by JMC, 1866, depicting her cousin, May Princep. This is a CDV sized print, 8.5 x 6 cm, pasted to a paper mount, 21 x 16 cm. This image is not on a Cameron CDV mount, so apparently pasted into a private album.

Ford and Cox's "Complete Photographs" notes that Cameron made private albums of her "Miniature" Photos for friends and family. I am wondering if anyone would have a guess as to where this image originated.

Are there private albums that included only a few Cameron photos? Was this image sold to the general public?

Thanks in advance for your consideration,

David McGreevy

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Comment by David McGreevy on September 19, 2017 at 0:12

Hello, Philippa, Thanks so much for looking!  

Please also see my blog post about a Cameron Cabinet card, On gilded mount, I still haven't figured this out, Not in Ford and Cox.  Many thanks, David

Comment by Philippa Wright on September 19, 2017 at 0:05

Hello David I wrote the chapter in Ford and Cox's "Complete Photographs"  on Cameron's Miniature Photographs. She did indeed  makes private albums of her "Miniature" Photos for friends and family.  I will look through my original research to see if I can identify where this originated.

Comment by Tim Lindholm on September 18, 2017 at 21:13

As Ken Jacobson suggests, while JMC CDVs are often found with the gold border and lithographed inscription, that's not always the case. A group was sold in April, 2017 at Phillips all of which were on plain CDV mounts comparable to yours (link).

Slightly off-topic, the name has been "Prinsep" since before 1800, and not just in Australia, although it was often misspelled by others.

Family lore is that the 'c' was changed to an 's' when one of them was working in the household of a princess. At the time 'ss' was represented by that now-obsolete character that looked like an 'f' but dropped down on the line like a 'p'. So (the story goes) "Princep" was easily confused with "Princef".

Whether or not that's true, here's my bid for the earliest correction: on the spines of a collection of John Prinsep's economic tracts, ca. 1790s, in contemporary binding. John was May's grandfather:

-- Tim

Comment by Ken Jacobson on September 18, 2017 at 10:45

Dear David,

Cameron cartes de visite were 'published' singly, not just in the rare albums you cite. They usually had a thick gold border at the edge of the carte and a facsimile 'From life...' (also in gold) beneath the image. There were other carte-sized images, however, that appear just plainly stuck on pages in albums, often with some kind of Cameron association. Since Cameron probably gave, sold (through Colnaghi's ?) or used loose images herself, any kind of mounting is possible, i suppose. We've had a couple of albums where Cameron cartes de visite were combined with the use of photocollage and had Isle of Wight associations. I hope his helps a bit.



Comment by David McGreevy on September 15, 2017 at 19:00

Thanks, Joanna!

Comment by Joanna Sassoon on September 14, 2017 at 12:45

Sorry I can't answer the question but her cousins in Western Australia spelt their surname Prinsep. Joanna

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