She did not receive her first camera until 1863 when she was already 48 years old and she was to be active for only eleven years, but Julia Margaret Cameron is now widely recognised as a pioneer of modern photography.
Many of her portraits saw her models posing in scenes from Arthurian legend, classical mythology, or in depictions of a rural idyll.
The rapid industrialisation of the previous century had seen British society transformed and with it a subsequent nostalgia for a past often more imagined than real.
It was not however considered right or proper for a Victorian woman of privilege to work at all let alone get ink on her hands and beneath under her fingernails and the passion with which she threw herself into this “Poor Man’s Art” was frowned upon by many.
Despite this her reputation was such that many of the great and good of Victorian society including Charles Darwin, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Edward Holman Hunt, the Poet Laureate Alfred Lord Tennyson, and the future actress Ellen Terry all posed for her in her studio on the Isle of Wight.
In 1875, Margaret returned to the Indian sub-Continent where her husband had previously served in the Colonial Administration settling in Ceylon.
There she continued her photographic work but with materials hard to come by it was at a much diminished rate, whilst she was quickly forgotten back in England.
She died suddenly on 26 January 1879, aged 63, having previously contracted a chill.