Dozens of rare 19th century photographs, captured by a female contemporary of Victorian pioneer Julia Margaret Cameron, have been unearthed.


Picture credits: Lady Hawarden, courtesy Bonhams

The 37 albumen prints were taken by Clementina Maude, Lady Hawarden, one of the most influential fine-art photographers of the time, according to Bonhams auction house which expects them to fetch up to £150,000 when they go on sale on 19 March.

The collection includes 15 associated albumen prints, several of which may also have been taken by Lady Hawarden, say auctioneers.

‘The surviving photographs suggest that Clementina… began to take photographs on the Hawarden’s Irish estate in Dundrum, County Tipperary, from late 1857,’ said a Bonhams spokesman.

‘Many of these were taken with a stereoscopic camera, and the present collection contains several Dundrum images…’

Lady Hawarden shot many of the photos from a studio she had set up on the first floor of her London home, 5 Princes Gardens, in the early 1860s.

The portraits – which show a single sitter and measure 198x144mm – have been plucked from an album that may have once belonged to one of the subjects, or their siblings.

Most are not represented at the V&A museum which already houses around 800 of her pictures, the bulk of the photographer’s work.

Lady Hawarden died in 1865, but it was not until the 1980s that the V&A appraised and catalogued her work in detail.

‘Like those in the V&A, most of the present images have been removed from an album, but, remarkably, with very little loss. Only one image is missing a corner, making this collection all the more exceptional.’

The photographer went on to win silver medals in the 1863 and 1864 exhibitions of the Photographic Society [now known as the RPS], explained auctioneers.