The J. Paul Getty Museum

My Ewen's Bride

Object Details

Title:

My Ewen's Bride

Artist/Maker:

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

Culture:

British

Place:

Freshwater, Isle of Wight, England (Place Created)

Date:

1869

Medium:

Albumen silver print

Object Number:

84.XM.349.8

Dimensions:

31.3 × 24.1 cm (12 5/16 × 9 1/2 in.)

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Object Description

In Victorian England, marriage was regarded as a cornerstone of society. For Julia Margaret Cameron, it was perceived as the ultimate earthly union. In letters to her sons she repeatedly mentioned their marital status and outlined her expectations of them. To her third son, Hardinge Hay (1846-1911), she wrote in 1873, “You should seek all the advantages of social and intellectual life in England and seek the opportunity of being amongst those women . . . whom you might love and might wish to marry.

In November 1869 Cameron’s second son, Ewen Wrottesley Hay (1841-1888), married Annie Chinery (born about 1851, death date unknown), the daughter of a prominent doctor on the Isle of Wight. The union was celebrated in a number of prenuptial portraits of the bride-to-be, including a stunning full-length study of her attired in her wedding finery. Annie was Cameron’s first daughter-in-law and was eagerly seized upon both maternally and photographically by her new mother-in-law. In Cameron’s portraits she is presented in various guises, but always as the progenitor of a new generation of Camerons, descended from the distinguished female Pattle line. Cameron enthusiastically sent prints to friends and relatives and, as if to emphasize divine intercession in family life, inscribed this portrait “God’s gift to us.”

Soon after their marriage, Ewen and Annie moved to Ceylon to pursue a livelihood on the family-owned coffee plantations. In an 1871 letter to Hardinge, who was also living in Ceylon, Cameron expressed her maternal feelings once more: “Every hour of every day I rejoice in the pure and happy marriage which has secured to Ewen his Treasure and I only yearn and long for the time when you be equally blessed.” Ironically, in Ceylon, Cameron’s closeness with Annie was brought to an end by the latter’s determined resistance to Cameron’s endless demands on her son.

Julian Cox. Julia Margaret Cameron, In Focus: From the J. Paul Getty Museum (Los Angeles: J. Paul Getty Museum, 1996), 76. ©1996 The J. Paul Getty Museum.

Provenance
Provenance
- 1984

André Jammes, sold to the J. Paul Getty Museum, 1984.

Exhibitions
Exhibitions
Julia Margaret Cameron's Women (September 19, 1998 to November 30, 1999)
  • The Art Institute of Chicago, September 19, 1998 to January 3, 1999
  • The Museum of Modern Art (New York), January 27 to May 4, 1999
  • San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (San Francisco), August 27 to November 30, 1999
Bibliography
Bibliography

Cox, Julian. In Focus: Julia Margaret Cameron. Photographs from the J. Paul Getty Museum (Los Angeles: The J. Paul Getty Museum, 1996), p. 76-77, plate 36, ill.