Art Fund helps National Media Museum acquire a unique Album by Julia Margaret Cameron for the National Photography Collection

  • Published 30 January 2009

The National Media Museum in Bradford has purchased the historically important and unique photograph album, Miniature Edition of Mrs Cameron's Photographs From the Life, 1869 by the eminent British Victorian photographer Julia Margaret Cameron. The purchase of the album, costing £18,525, was made possible through funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund (£10,000) and £5,000 from The Art Fund, the UK's leading independent art charity.

Cameron was presented with her first camera in 1863 at the age of 48. She embraced photography with a passion bordering on obsession, creating an unrivalled collection of portraits characterised by their remarkable intimacy. Cameron is now recognised as one of the most influential figures in the history of photography.

This unique album, the whereabouts of which was previously unknown to Cameron scholars, researchers and the general public, was identified during research undertaken by Philippa Wright, Curator of Photographs at the National Media Museum.

Philippa Wright said: "Acquiring the album is an important addition to the National Media Museum's world class and unrivalled collection of Julia Margaret Cameron’s work. The acquisition will enable us to make accessible a previously privately held object to our visitors, which last year exceeded 735,000 and included international photography scholars."

David Barrie, Director of The Art Fund, said: "This is an extraordinary piece, demonstrating Julia Margaret Cameron’s varied career – not only did she successfully capture eminent figures of her day, she also recorded intimate moments amongst friends and relatives. This album will enrich the National Media Museum’s substantial photographic archive, bringing pleasure to specialist researchers and general visitors alike. We are delighted to be able to continue our support of the Museum with this acquisition."

Fiona Spiers, Head of Heritage Lottery Fund, Yorkshire and the Humber, said "Over the past 14 years we’ve been helping to keep the UK's collections alive by supporting grants for acquisitions. This particular acquisition is of major significance and will enable this important photograph album to go on public display and enhance the National Media Museum’s existing collection of Cameron’s work."

The National Media Museum will conserve and make digital copies of the album, preserving it for future generations. There are plans for the album to appear as part of an interactive display in the Museum and permanent access to the album and the Museum’s collection will be available via the Museum’s research facility, Insight.

The National Media Museum holds the largest and most comprehensive collection of Cameron's work, consisting of photographs, ephemera and letters, including her hand written autobiography 'Annals of My Glass House,' and the original lens from her camera.

Since the National Media Museum opened in 1983, The Art Fund has given £430,722 towards new additions to its collections, including two other sets of works by Julia Margaret Cameron.

The National Photography Collection held at the National Media Museum contains key images by numerous influential historic and contemporary practitioners such as; Anna Atkins, Sir John Herschel, Martin Parr and Eve Arnold, and includes the earliest known surviving negative, which is part of the William Henry Fox Talbot Collection. The Museum also holds The Royal Photographic Society Collection, the Kodak Museum and the Daily Herald Archive.


Philippa Wright, Curator of Photographs at the National Media Museum is available for interview in relation to the acquisition. To arrange an interview and for any further press information or images please contact:

Caroline Joynson

Senior Press Officer

National Media Museum

01274 203305

Notes to editors:

This acquisition has been made possible through funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund The Art Fund, the UK’s leading independent art charity:

The National Media Museum in Bradford, West Yorkshire, opened as the National Museum of Photography, Film & Television in Bradford in 1983, with a remit to explore the art and science of the image and image-making, and has since become one of the most visited UK museums outside London.

The National Media Museum is devoted to film, photography, television, radio and the web and looks after the National Photography, Photographic Technology and Cinematography Collections, items relating to the history and development of television and The Royal Photography Society Collection.

The Museum is home to two temporary exhibition spaces. Programme highlights during 2008 included the Museum securing the only UK venue for Henri Cartier-Bresson’s Scrapbook, Photographs 1932-46, and the Museum generated shows; Live by the Lens. Die by the Lens: Film Stars and Photographers and Sarah Jones: Photographs. Entry to exhibitions at the National Media Museum is free.

Other attractions at the Museum include the permanent galleries Experience TV, a hands-on visitor experience about the history, present and past of television, and the Kodak Gallery, which charts the history of popular photography.

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Using money raised through the National Lottery, the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) sustains and transforms a wide range of heritage for present and future generations to take part in, learn from and enjoy. From museums, parks and historic places to archaeology, natural environment and cultural traditions, we invest in every part of our diverse heritage. HLF has supported more than 26,000 projects, allocating over £4billion across the UK. Website:

The Art Fund is the UK’s leading independent art charity. It offers grants to help UK museums and galleries enrich their collections; campaigns on behalf of museums and their visitors; and promotes the enjoyment of art. It is entirely funded from public donations and has 80,000 members. Since 1903 the charity has helped museums and galleries all over the UK secure 860,000 works of art for their collections. Recent achievements include: helping secure Anthony d’Offay’s collection, ARTIST ROOMS, for Tate and National Galleries of Scotland in February 2008 with a grant of £1million; putting together a unique funding package to ensure Dumfries House in Ayrshire and its contents were secured intact for the nation in July 2007; running the ‘Buy a Brushstroke’ public appeal which raised over £550,000 to keep Turner’s Blue Rigi watercolour in the UK, and helping to save Rubens’ sketch for the ceiling at Banqueting House, Whitehall, for Tate in October 2008 with a grant of £600,000. For more information contact the Press Office on 020 7225 4888 or visit

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