She had received her first camera as a present from her daughter and son-in-law when she was 48 and living at Freshwater on the Isle of Wight: “It may amuse you, Mother, to try to photograph during your solitude at Freshwater.”
Several years previously, she had been introduced to the wonders of photography by her friend Sir John Herschel, the British astronomer. It soon became Cameron’s passion and among the famous images she created in the following years is The Dream from April 1869, above.
A 12 x 10in (30 x 24cm) albumen vintage print of the image is coming up for sale at Grisebach on November 27 with an estimate of €8000-10,000.
It was taken in April 1869 and is a portrait in profile of Mary Hillier, Cameron’s parlour maid and, as she wrote, “one of the most beautiful and constant of my models”. Alongside the signature and date, it bears the inscription Methought I saw my late espoused Saint, a quote from John Milton’s poem On his Deceased Wife from c.1658.