Charles Hay Cameron

Object Details


Charles Hay Cameron


Julia Margaret Cameron (British, born India, 1815 - 1879)




Freshwater, Isle of Wight, England (Place created)




Albumen silver print


29.2 x 22.4 cm (11 1/2 x 8 13/16 in.)

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Alfred, Lord Tennyson once described Charles Hay Cameron as "a philosopher with his beard dipped in moonlight." As Cameron sits in an armchair facing his wife's camera, his white hair is drenched in brilliant natural light. Although it is winter and he is bundled in an overcoat, his eyes express tender warmth.

This portrait by Julia Margaret Cameron is a rare study of her husband, and one of the first she made after taking up photography. In her later allegorical images, Charles Hay Cameron's patriarchal appearance made him a convincing King Lear and Merlin. But in real life, he fit the Victorian archetype of "genius" with his unruly white hair, as did many of the scholarly men his wife photographed. Cameron attended Eton College and served a distinguished law career in British colonial India. He shared a passion for literature and philosophy with his wife and friends. He also had a tendency to be reclusive. Here, he is portrayed simply as himself--a gentle and solitary man.

Whisper of the Muse at Loyola Marymount University (September 12 to October 25, 1986)
  • Laband Gallery, Loyola Marymount University (Los Angeles), September 12 to October 25, 1986
Portrait Photographs by Julia Margaret Cameron (November 25, 1987 to February 14, 1988)
  • National Portrait Gallery (Washington D.C.), November 25, 1987 to February 14, 1988
Julia Margaret Cameron: The Creative Process (October 15, 1996 to May 3, 1998)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum (Malibu), October 15, 1996 to January 5, 1997
  • Art Gallery of Ontario (Toronto), February 4 to May 3, 1998
Julia Margaret Cameron: Nineteenth Century Photographic Genius (February 6 to August 30, 2003)
  • National Portrait Gallery (London), February 6 to May 18, 2003
  • National Museum of Photography, Film and Television (Bradford), June 5 to August 30, 2003
Julia Margaret Cameron, Photographer (November 21, 2003 to January 11, 2004)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center (Los Angeles), October 21, 2003 to January 11, 2004