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Studio: international art — 2.1894

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Photographic Portraiture

PHOTOGRAPHIC PORTRAI- t0 exPe"ment with the lens. Although Mr.
TURE : AN INTERVIEW WITH Cameron disclaims for his mother the honour
MR. H. H. HAY CAMERON °^ keing the first who saw the possibility of the

science developing to an art, yet it was Rejlander
The interior of 70 Mortimer Street (t0 whom he with others awards the precedence)
was certainly a surprise when, upon entering it to wh0 awakened in Mrs. Cameron that interest in
interview Mr. Cameron, I saw the suite of rooms artistic photography which afterwards grew so
on the first story lined with " carved oak." Experi- rapidly to maturity in her hands. Yet at first it
enceof photographic studios suggested that it must was as an amusement that she began her experi-
be papier mach'c imitation, and it was a shock to ments in photography with a camera sent to her as
discover that an artist of Mr.
Cameron's position could
tolerate spurious decoration
of any sort. After a moment,
however, it was still more
astonishing to find that it was
not merely genuine work of
good design in almost perfect
preservation, as fine as any-
thing the old City halls could
show, but that it had been
so long fixed in its present
place that no clue existed
whence it came, or who put
it there. The gorgeous
mantelpieces reaching to the
ceiling in two of the rooms,
and the screen which partially
separates them, bear superb
emblazonments in gold and
colours. The arms of Henry
VIII. would suggest a date
late in the sixteenth century,
did not the figures 1583 fix
it beyond all shadow of

The complete details of
the wood-work, and the bril-
liant pigments of the unre-
stored heraldic decoration,
make it alone well worth a
visit. Yet one must not dis-
cuss the frame of a picture, master gerald wellesley. from a photograph by h. h. hay cameron
be it ever so interesting,

when the subject within it demands attention, a present by her daughter; and the superb series
and to dwell on the unexpected discovery of a of portraits, real and ideal, which have made her
Tudor interior in so modern a place as Mortimer world-renowned, were taken in a glazed fowl-house,
Street, W., would be to record what should and developed in a coal-hole. From these simple
have been merely a secondary impression as if appliances alone came the results which, like the
it were of the first importance. Leaving the first efforts of the printing-press, have not yet been
interesting study of the ancient craft of wood- beaten.

carving, let us start with the date 1864, when "It has been said," Mr. Cameron remarked,
Mrs. Julia Margaret Cameron, the honoured " that my mother purposely threw the lens out of
founder of the present studio, began at Freshwater focus, that she admitted light through a small
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