<iframe src="//www.googletagmanager.com/ns.html?id=GTM-K3L4M3" height="0" width="0" style="display:none;visibility:hidden">

Arts feature

Julia Margaret Cameron: the Leonardo of photography

Ruskin dismissed her early photographs as untrue. But the same could be said of any picture, says Martin Gayford

21 November 2015

9:00 AM

21 November 2015

9:00 AM

One day Julia Margaret Cameron was showing John Ruskin a portfolio of her photographic portraits. The critic grew more and more impatient until he came to a study of the scientist Sir John Herschel in which the subject’s hair stood up ‘like a halo of fireworks’. At this point, Ruskin slammed the portfolio shut and Cameron thumped him violently on the back, exclaiming, ‘John Ruskin, you are not worthy of photographs!’ He was indeed smackingly wrong to dismiss her work, as visitors to an exhibition at the V&A celebrating the 200th anniversary of her birth will be able to see...

Already a subscriber? Log in

Subscribe for just $2 a week

Try a month of The Spectator Australia absolutely free and without commitment. Not only that but – if you choose to continue – you’ll pay just $2 a week for your first year.

  • Unlimited access to spectator.com.au and app
  • The weekly edition on the Spectator Australia app
  • Spectator podcasts and newsletters
  • Full access to spectator.co.uk

Unlock this article


Julia Margaret Cameron is at the V&A Museum until 21 February 2016.

You might disagree with half of it, but you’ll enjoy reading all of it. Try your first month for free, then just $2 a week for the remainder of your first year.


Don't miss out

Join the conversation with other Spectator Australia readers. Subscribe to leave a comment.

Already a subscriber? Log in