One of the greatest portraitists in the history of photography, Julia Margaret Cameron was 48 and a mother of six when she received her first camera as a Christmas gift in 1863. In the few years that followed, this deeply religious, well-read, somewhat eccentric friend of notable Victorian artists, poets, and thinkers created a gallery of vivid portraits and a mirror of the Victorian soul.
This portrait of Cameron’s favorite niece and namesake, Julia Jackson, suggestive of an antique cameo carved in high relief, was made the year she married Herbert Duckworth. Three years later, Jackson was a widow and the mother of three children. By her second marriage to Sir Leslie Stephen in 1878, Julia Jackson was the mother of the painter Vanessa Bell and the writer Virginia Woolf.