Cameron, Julia Margaret (DNB00)

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CAMERON, JULIA MARGARET (1815–1879), photographer, born at Calcutta on 11 June 1815, was the third daughter of James Pattle of the Bengal civil service. In 1838 she married Charles Hay Cameron [q. v.], then member of the law commission in Calcutta. Her other sisters married General Colin Mackenzie [q. v.], Henry Thoby Prinsep [q. v.], Dr. Jackson, M.D., Henry Vincent Bayley, judge of the supreme court of Calcutta, and nephew of Henry Vincent Bayley [q. v.], Earl Somers, and John Warrender Dalrymple of the Bengal civil service. Miss Pattle was well known in Calcutta society for her brilliant conversation. She showed her philanthropy in 1846, when, through her energy and influence, she was able to raise a considerable sum for the relief of the sufferers in the Irish famine. Mrs. Cameron came to England with her husband and family in 1848. They resided in London, and afterwards went to Putney, and in 1860 settled at Freshwater in the Isle of Wight, where they were the neighbours and friends of Lord Tennyson. In 1875 they went to Ceylon; they visited England in 1878, and returned to Ceylon, where she died on 26 Jan. 1879.

Mrs. Cameron was known and beloved by a large circle of friends. She corresponded with Wordsworth; she was well known to Carlyle, who said, on receiving one of her yearly valentines, ‘This comes from Mrs. Cameron or the devil.’ Sir Henry Taylor, a valued friend, says of her in his ‘Autobiography’ (ii. 48): ‘If her husband was of a high intellectual order, and as such naturally fell to her lot, the friends that fell to her were not less so. Foremost of them all were Sir John Herschel and Lord Hardinge. … Sir Edward Ryan, who had been the early friend of her husband, was not less devoted to her in the last days of his long life than he had been from the times in which they first met. … It was indeed impossible that we should not grow fond of her—impossible for us, and not less so for the many whom her genial, ardent, and generous nature has captivated ever since.’ A characteristic story of one of her many acts of persevering benevolence is told in the same volume (pp. 185–8). Her influence on all classes was marked and admirable. She was unusually outspoken, but her genuine sympathy and goodness of heart saved her from ever alienating a friend.

At the age of fifty she took up photography, which in her hands became truly artistic, instead of possessing merely mechanical excellence. She gained gold, silver, and bronze medals in America, Austria, Germany, and England. She has left admirable portraits of many distinguished persons. Among her sitters were the Crown Prince and Princess of Prussia, Charles Darwin, Lord Tennyson, Mr. Browning, Herr Joachim, and Sir John Herschel, who had been her friend from her early girlhood. Mrs. Cameron wrote many poems, some of which appeared in ‘Macmillan's Magazine.’ Her only separate publication was a translation of Bürger's ‘Leonora,’ published in 1847.

[Personal knowledge.]

J. P. S.