Research; A Cameron Mystery

12201015696?profile=originalHello, I am hoping that someone here can shed light on this Julia Margaret Cameron cabinet card , recently acquired.

Beautiful image,

I am trying to identify the sitter and the date. Apparently sold at Swann Galleries, May, 2015, identified as an unknown woman, (possibly Annie Chinery-Cameron), JMC's daughter-in-law.

It does not appear in any size in "Julia Margaret Cameron, The Complete Photographs" by Cox and Ford, 2003, 

i can find no other copy of this image online, save the Swann catalog entry.

Cameron fans, is this a fake?  It sure doesn't look like Annie Chinery to me..


Best Regards, David

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  • Thank you so much Mr. Pritchard and Mr. Wood, for such valuable and knowledgable information.

    I was also thinking that the sitter could possibly be Mary Ann Hillier, as there are a few cabinet cards in the collection of the National Portrait Gallery which suggest a strong resemblance:

    Thanks again for your interest.


    David McGreevy


  • I have received a rare email from Derek Wood to share his thoughts on the subject. He writes....

    I notice that there is an enquiry dated 20 Sept about identifying the sitter and date of a Julia Margaret Cameron cabinet card. I have not seen the Swann Galleries catalogue referred to know why it has been suggested the sitter is possibly Annie Chinery, but would like instead to propose that the title given by JMC is more likely to have been 'Annie Lee', and the date of the photo probably 1864. 

    'Annie Lee' was one of the three central characters in the sad narrative poem 'Enoch Arden' by Alfred Tennyson, published in 1864. Annie Lee was left alone to cope when her husband, sailor Enoch was away for many years without any news getting back to her. Of course, JMC was devoted to Tennyson – conceivably she could have seen the poem or talked of it with Tennyson himself before publication – but maybe the story captured her imagination not only for its pathos, but also for the following lines referring to a glass – ie a lens:


    "She when the day, that Enoch mention'd, came,
    Borrow'd a glass, but all in vain: perhaps
    She could not fix the glass to suit her eye;
    Perhaps her eye was dim, hand tremulous;
    She saw him not: and while he stood on deck
    Waving, the moment and the vessel past.
    Ev'n to the last dip of the vanishing sail
    She watch'd it, and departed weeping for him;..."


    Amongst the Copyright records at the National Archives that I compiled in 1996 of JMC's copyright photograph registrations the item no. 56 is of interest: "Annie Lee, hat on, hair flowing, full face, left hand raised to throat", registered for copyright 10 Oct 1864, National Archives, Kew, COPY 1/7, f.549. Unfortunately JMC did not deposit any photographs with her application forms providing a text description only, However, that description does fit fairly well with the image provided by David McGreevy, although in that image there is no hat.


    Mr. McGreevy mentions that the cabinet photo is not illustrated in Cox and Ford's massive 'Julia Margaret Cameron. The Complete Photographs' (2003).

    Numbers 905 and 906 of that catalogue are JMC's photographic constructs inspired by 'Enoch Arden', showing her sitters representing Phillip, Annie and Enoch of the poem. Jeannie Senior is identified by Cox and Ford as the sitter for 'Annie' while the other two are "unknown boys (possibly her brothers)". I have no knowledge of the Senior family but (for me) the girl in those two JMC photos is more like David McGreevy's cabinet card than the girl in the following illustration No. 907 that is titled 'Annie Lee", identified as Katie Keown and with "copyright October 10, 1864 (?)" in the caption. Probably JMC had more than one girl to sit as "Anne Lee"?

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