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Bonhams to sell Julia Margaret Cameron's intimate image of Virginia Woolf's mother, Julia Jackson
Julia Margaret Cameron (British, 1815-1879), Julia Jackson, 1867. Photo: Bonhams.

LONDON.- One of the highlights of Bonhams’ Photographs sale on 17 November 2011, at New Bond Street, is an intimate portrait of Julia Jackson by British photography pioneer Julia Margaret Cameron (1815-1879). One of around fifty known portraits by Cameron of her niece, the earliest dating from 1864, it has attracted a pre-sale estimate of £25,000 – 35,000.

Cameron’s portraits are currently subject to special focus in the Victoria and Albert’s Museum’s new Photographs Gallery (opening to the public on October 25). As Martin Barnes, senior curator of photographs at the museum, says: “She [Cameron] broke all the rules of lighting and scale. Her pictures are technically out of focus, but compared to the formal portraits of the time, hers were luscious, dark and magical.”

This portrait dates from the spring of 1867 when Cameron visited the Jackson family in Kent and took a series of studies of the beautiful twenty-one year old Julia, who was later to marry Victorian intellectual and author, Sir Leslie Stephen. Jackson had four children with Stephen, including Vanessa (Bell) and Virginia (Woolf), who immortalised her mother as Mrs Ramsay in her 1927 novel To the Lighthouse.

Another sale highlight is The Merce Cunningham Dance Company Photography Portfolio (estimate £8,000 – 12,000), which was donated to the company on the occasion of its 50th anniversary in 2004. It features signed photographs by eight artists including Chuck Close, Candida Höfer, Gregory Crewdson and Cindy Sherman. The sale of this limited edition set coincides with the farewell tour by the company, which is disbanding following the death of Cunningham in 2009 at the age of 90.

Other spectacular works in the sale include Robert Mapplethorpe’s Calla Lily, 1986 (estimate £30,000 – 50,000); Albert Watson’s Kate Moss, Marrakech, Morocco, 1993 (estimate £8,000 – 12,000); and David LaChapelle’s Courtney Love: Pieta, Los Angeles, 2006 (estimate £7,000 – 9,000).

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October 26, 2011

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