(The Guardian) – Temporary export ban on Julia Margaret Cameron album with photos of Darwin and Tennyson. An extraordinary album of photographs by the Victorian pioneer Julia Margaret Cameron will leave the UK unless a buyer with £3.7m can be found. Cameron’s Norman Album, which includes photographs of Alfred, Lord Tennyson and Charles Darwin, has been placed under a temporary export bar by the arts minister, Michael Ellis.
The hope is that a UK institution or individual can match the asking price and prevent the album from being sold abroad. Ellis said the album was unique: “As well as containing extraordinary depictions of some of the most famous faces of the age, this wonderful album is of outstanding aesthetic importance and significance to the study of the history of photography.”
Cameron is considered a giant of early photography and the album contains some of her best-known photographs. Her stated aim was to record “the greatness of the inner as well as the features of the outer man”, and her subjects included some of her intellectual heroes. Among them was Darwin who, with his family, rented a cottage from her on the Isle of Wight. He had his picture taken in Cameron’s converted chicken shed studio. Another was the scientist Sir John Herschel, whom Cameron described as a “teacher and high priest” and an “illustrious and revered as well as beloved friend”. That close friendship comes across in the photograph, his wild hair washed and tousled so it catches the light.
Other photographs include ones of Tennyson, the playwright and poet Henry Taylor, Cameron’s niece and the mother of Virginia Woolf, Julia Jackson, and a melancholic young boy called Dèjatch Alámayou whose father, an Ethiopian emperor, killed himself rather than surrender to the British after defeat in battle in 1868. The newly orphaned prince came to live on the Isle of Wight and visited Queen Victoria at Osborne House, where Cameron took the picture. Victoria took a great interest in him and paid for his education and, after his early death at 18 from pleurisy, allowed him to be buried at Windsor Castle.
You can read the full article in theguardian.com.