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Julia Margaret Cameron
So like a shatter'd Column lay the King
1875 (ca, taken)
Albumen print, from wet collodion glass negative
Victoria and Albert Museum
Given by Mrs Ida S. Perrin, 1939, Museum number: 46-1939
Curatorial description (Accessed: 14 July 2017)
In 1874, Alfred Tennyson, the Poet Laureate, invited Julia Margaret Cameron to make photographic illustrations to his Idylls of the King. This was a series of narrative poems based on the legends of King Arthur. After her large photographs were published as small, wood-cut copies, Cameron decided to produce an edition illustrated by original photographic prints. She accompanied these with extracts from the poems written in her own hand and printed in facsimile. She claimed to have made as many as 245 exposures to arrive at the 25 she finally published in two volumes.
This is by far the most theatrical of Cameronís illustrations to the Idylls. The wounded King Arthur is taken by boat from Camelot. Cameron used fabric to create the illusion of waves and mist, and even drew a moon on the negative in the upper left corner.
Ford, Colin and Cox, Julian. Julia Margaret Cameron: The Complete Photographs. London: Thames and Hudson, 2003. Cat. no. 1193, p.480, ill.
Gernsheim, Helmut. Julia Margaret Cameron: Her Life and Photographic Work. Millerton, N.Y.: Aperture, 1975, p. 81.
Lukitsh, Joanne. Cameron: Her Work and Career. Rochester, N.Y.: International Museum of Photography at George Eastman House, 1986, p.37.
Hopkinson, Amanda. Julia Margaret Cameron. London: Virago Press, 1986, p. 155.
Lukitsh, Joanne. Julia Margaret Cameron. London: Phaidon Press, 2001, p. 119.
Weiss, Marta. Julia Margaret Cameron: Photographs to electrify you with delight and startle the world. London: MACK, 2015, p. 123.