About this artwork

Most of Cameron’s female models came from her immediate surroundings, and she often photographed her housemaids in various biblical and mythological disguises, which reflects her belief in the transformative power of art. Here, Cameron constructs a cunning double play: not only does the picture depict a biblical scene of the three Marys but also all the women modelling for the image, are called Mary: Mary Kellaway, Mary Ryan and Mary Hillier. It is not clear which biblical story is depicted here because multiple suitable narratives exist:  the Marys who discovered the empty tomb after the Resurrection, the women present at the crucifixion or the daughters of Saint Anne.

Julia Margaret Cameron

Julia Margaret Cameron