Julia Margaret Cameron (British (born India), Calcutta 1815–1879 Kalutara, Ceylon)
The Autotype Company (British, London)
35.0 x 28.1 cm. (13 3/4 x 11 1/16 in.)
Alfred Stieglitz Collection, 1949
Not on view
Cameron long wished to photograph the brilliant but controversial historian and philosopher Thomas Carlyle (1795–1881) and ultimately took her camera to London to do so. “When I have had such men before my camera,” she wrote, “my whole soul has endeavored to do its duty towards them in recording the greatness of the inner as well as the features of the outer man. The photograph thus taken has been almost the embodiment of a prayer.” Cameron inscribed Herschel’s print of this powerful image: “Carlyle like a rough block of Michelangelo’s sculpture.” Carlyle, on the other hand, wrote of it to Cameron: “Terrifically ugly and woe-begone, but has something of likeness: my candid opinion.” Before Cameron and her husband moved to Ceylon in 1875, she contracted with the Autotype Company in London to produce copy negatives of seventy of her most iconic images (many original negatives having deteriorated) and to publish positives from them for sale to the public in the more permanent process of carbon printing. This print, one such example, belonged to Alfred Stieglitz, who found Cameron’s work to be in harmony with his own ideas about artistic photography. He published this image and others in his luxurious journal Camera Work in 1913.
The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "The Collection of Alfred Stieglitz," May 18, 1978–July 16, 1978.
The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Paul Strand and His Contemporaries," February 10, 1998–May 31, 1998.
The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Julia Margaret Cameron," August 19, 2013–January 5, 2014.
Stieglitz, Alfred, ed. Camera Work: A Photographic Quarterly 41 (January 1913).
Cox, Julian, and Colin Ford. Julia Margaret Cameron: The Complete Photographs. Los Angeles: J. Paul Getty Museum, 2003. no. 627, p. 312.