Sappho (1865) by Julia Margaret Cameron

Sappho - Julia Margaret Cameron - 1865

Artwork Information

TitleSappho
ArtistJulia Margaret Cameron
Date1865
MediumPhotograph
Dimensions35 x 27.3 cm
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About Sappho

Sappho by Julia Margaret Cameron is a albumen silver print photograph made from a glass negative, taken in 1865.  The person depicted in the photograph is Mary Hillier, a young servant girl from Cameron’s home.  The name of the photograph “Sappho” refers to an ancient greek poet from the isle of Lesbos.

The connection between the picture and the Greek poet Sappho is ambiguous, particularly as Cameron labeled another version of this image ‘Adriana.’ The names of two similar pieces suggest that Hillier’s mere change in gaze direction, from left to right, altered her representation from Sappho to Dora, or, with a slight adjustment in camera position, to Clio.

Sappho has been depicted elsewhere in art history, one similar example is Sapphos by Adolphe Piot, with the same right facing, over the shoulder pose.

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