Auctions | September 27, 2013

Newly Discovered Julia Margaret Cameron Album to be Sold at Sotheby’s London

Sotheby's is thrilled to announce the discovery of a previously unknown album of photographs by the foremost female pioneer of nineteenth century portrait photography, Julia Margaret Cameron. The album of 32 large scale portrait photographs—containing images of leading Victorian celebrities and two unrecorded photographs—represents a major addition to Cameron's oeuvre. Estimated at £250,000-350,000, it will be offered at Sotheby's auction of English Literature, History, Children’s Books and Illustrations in London on 10th December 2013. The sale will mark the first time in over thirty years that any album compiled by Julia Margaret Cameron containing her own photographs has appeared at auction.

‘The Valentine Prinsep Album’ 

Specially compiled by Julia Margaret Cameron for her godson and “illustrious” nephew the Pre-Raphaelite artist, Valentine Cameron Prinsep, on his 31st birthday in 1869, this highly important album was completely unknown until it was discovered earlier this year. 

It is one of only eleven known albums compiled by Cameron with her own photographs, and represents hours of meticulous work. The album contains carefully chosen portraits of her friends and family including leading figures in Victorian society such as Alfred Lord Tennyson, Sir John Herschel and her goddaughter Julia Jackson (the mother of Virginia Woolf). While several of the images are known in only a handful of other prints, two others are previously unrecorded and possibly unique. The two unseen pictures both depict Mary Hillier, the daughter of a local shoemaker and Cameron’s personal maid.

Exhibition Dates

The first public exhibition of the album will be in Sotheby’s New York from 28th September through to the 2nd October, to coincide with Sotheby’s New York  Photographs auction and the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s new exhibition dedicated to Julia Margaret Cameron (19th August 2013-5th January 2014). The album will also be exhibited in Sotheby’s Paris in mid-November. 2015 will mark the bicentenary of Cameron’s birth.