Vivien and Merlin
Julia Margaret Cameron British, born India
Not on view
In 1874 Tennyson asked Cameron to make photographic illustrations for a new edition of his Idylls of the King, a recasting of the Arthurian legends. Responding that both knew that “it is immortality to me to be bound up with you,” Cameron willingly accepted the assignment. Costuming family and friends, she made some 245 exposures to arrive at the handful she wanted for the book. Ultimately—and predictably—she was unhappy with the way her photographs looked reduced in scale and translated into wood engravings, and she chose to issue a deluxe edition, at her own risk, that included a dozen full size photographic prints in each of two volumes.