Cameron made more than twenty portraits of her favorite niece and namesake, Julia Jackson, to whom she gave this unmounted proof print. She never portrayed Julia as a sibyl or a saint but rather as a natural embodiment of purity, beauty and grace. Spared the usual props and costumes, the twenty-one-year-old sitter here seems bodiless, an ethereal spirit afloat like an untethered soul.
This poetic image depicts the woman who was the model for the beautiful Mrs. Ramsay in "To the Lighthouse", Virginia Woolf's great novel of 1927. In 1882 Julia Jackson Stephen gave birth to Virginia, who grew up to resemble her mother and, in 1926, to write the first book on her great-aunt's photographs.