The J. Paul Getty Museum

Prayer and Praise

Object Details


Prayer and Praise


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




Freshwater, Isle of Wight, England (Place Created)




Albumen silver print

Object Number:



28.1 × 22.7 cm (11 1/16 × 8 15/16 in.)

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Object Description

This image recreates the scene of the Nativity, in which Christ's mother, the Virgin Mary, and her husband Joseph watch over the newborn, sleeping Christ child. Julia Margaret Cameron may have decided to include a fourth figure, the young girl at the left, to add pictorial balance to the composition. The girl may represent an angel, as her outstretched hand hovering above the infant's head appears to be a gesture of blessing. The sleeping child's peaceful repose is emphasized by the contemplative silence of the surrounding figures. A spiritual calm is conveyed in the image by the adults' downcast eyes. Cameron powerfully evokes the mood of the Nativity scene through her careful, sensitive rendering of a sacred subject.


Daniel Wolf, Inc., sold to the J. Paul Getty Museum, 1984.

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
The Art of Photography: 1839 - 1989 (February 11 to December 23, 1989)
  • Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, February 11 to April 30, 1989
  • National Gallery of Australia (Canberra), June 1 to August 1, 1989
  • Royal Academy of Arts (London), September 23 to December 23, 1989
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
Revelation: Representations of Christ in Photography (May 22 to October 18, 2003)
  • The Israel Museum (Jerusalem), May 22 to October 18, 2003

Cox, Julian, and Colin Ford. Julia Margaret Cameron: The Complete Photographs. Joanne Lukitsh and Philippa Wright, contributors. (Los Angeles: The J. Paul Getty Museum, 2003), ill. p. 163, cat. 130.