Julia Margaret Cameron: The Infant Bridal

Julia Margaret Cameron: The Infant Bridal

Hello Members, recently consigned to auction with us was this drawing which will make many photography fans think of Julia Margaret Cameron. It is indeed a very fine copy after Cameron's photograph The Infant Bridal (1864), this version being Cox & Ford cat. no. 864. The one with arched top that you can find in the V&A Collection online (accession number 216-1969) was one of a group that were given to her mentor and friend, the artist George Frederic Watts. The drawing here is in black and white chalk and pencil on blue wove paper, sheet size 252 x 212 mm (the albumen print at the V&A is 240 x 210 mm). It is tipped onto an old album leaf and card and until just now has been undisturbed in in an old (?Edwardian) gilt picture frame that suggests it has been there for very many decades.

We think the drawing/paper is contemporary or near-contemporary to the photograph and the upper half of the drawing is particularly skilful. The only discernible difference of any note appears to be that the sitter on the right (Freddy Gould; Elizabeth Keown is on the left) has his eyes slightly more open and stares more directly to camera/artist than in the photograph. The owner has had this for several decades, he thinks bought in a provincial auction, but never taken it out of the frame or done any research into it beyond speculating on the Freddy Gould likeness.

There are no other clues as to who drew this. Have any members come across any similar contemporary drawings after Cameron photographs before, and any as accomplished as this? Might it be by Watts himself? Cameron often sent Watts examples of her work, including imperfect prints (at his own request).

This drawing will be in our Fine Art Sale on 13 March. If anyone has any further suggestions or queries please do get in touch:

Chris Albury, Dominic Winter Auctioneers

chris@dominicwinter.co.uk | 01285 860006

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