The Whisper of the Muse, 1865
albumen silver photograph
The Wilson Centre for Photography
The central figure in this photograph is the well-known painter G. F. Watts, who was the artist-in-residence at Little Holland House and a close friend and advisor to Cameron. Two children from Cameron's hometown of Freshwater are posed as Muses beside him, Freddy Gould is on the left, and Lizzie Keown is on the right. Watts is shown communing with the Muses who offer creativity and inspire the highest forms of art - philosophy, poetry, literature and music.
Cameron had a relatively short career photographing and printing, a mere ten years, but was able to produce a lifetimes of work. The archetypal women in her work are portrayed as reservoirs of spiritual strength, and men as reservoirs of genius. Children were often portrayed as angelic as they often died at a very young age during the Victorian time. The fine details in her prints are transitory and accidental as her preferred technique was out of focus.