A Dalmatian Maid Cameron, Julia Margaret  (British, 1815-1879)

Pictorial photography was born in 1891 as an international undertaking, organized and steered by amateur photographers who were devoted to the artistic possibilities of the medium. Early on, they seized upon the Victorian photographer Julia Margaret Cameron as one of their chief forerunners. In an 1891 issue of Sun Artists, for example, Peter Henry Emerson called Cameron an “old master” of photography, and later that year, in Sun & Shade, the editors published Cameron’s portrait of Christina Spartali, untitled during Cameron’s time but here printed in photogravure and titled A Dalmatian Maid.

This monthly artistic portfolio printed by Ernest Edwards’ New York Photo-Gravure Company is a self-described Picture Periodical without Letter Press. In its first year, the publication grew from less than fifty subscribers to a monthly edition of four thousand. Responding to interest in a “higher grade of pictures” with emphasis on quality rather than quantity, the magazine transformed itself from its original concept of a “Photographic Record of Events” to an “Artistic Periodical.” By the fifth issue in January 1889, the shift was taking place; the lesser quality photomechanical method of photolithography was abandoned, and reproductions were by photogravure and “photogelatin” (collotype) only. Each issue typically featured a portfolio of eight high-quality, large photogravures and collotypes of artwork and artistic photography of leading artists and photographers of the day. [1]

Reproduced / Exhibited

Foster, Sheila J, Manfred Heiting, and Rachel Stuhlman. Imagining Paradise: The Richard and Ronay Menschel Library at George Eastman House, Rochester. Göttingen: Steidl, 2007 p. 196

Cox, Julian, Colin Ford, Joanne Lukitsh, and Philippa Wright. Julia Margaret Cameron: The Complete Photographs. London: Thames & Hudson in association with the J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles and the National Museum of Photography, Film & Televison, Bradford, 2003. no. 463


[1] Foster, Sheila J. Imagining Paradise: The Richard and Ronay Menschel Library at George Eastman House, Rochester. Rochester, NY: George Eastman House, 2007. p. 197

“Julia Margaret Cameron’s Dalmatian Maid: A Pictorialist Transformation” Jeff H. Rosen, Higher Learning Commission RIT Symposium