Mary Hillier

Call, I Follow, I Follow, Let Me Die! (1867) Julia Margaret Cameron
Mary Hillier was maid and model to the nineteenth century pioneer photographer Julia Margaret Cameron.  Although she was born and died within the same tiny village on the Isle of Wight, she became a powerful muse to her mistress, playing the part of madonna, Tennysonian heroine and saint. She knew the Freshwater circle that included the poet laureate, Alfred Lord Tennyson, the painter G F Watts and many other notable cultural figures, and posed for paintings by Watts and Grosvenor Gallery owner, Sir Coutts Lindsay.  It would be impossible to think of the innovative and beautiful photographs of Cameron without thinking of Mary Hillier, but what do we know of her life, and what did Mrs Cameron make of her?

Mary Hillier: The Wight Madonna will tell the story of Mary's life and afterlife, revealing how Julia Margaret Cameron wanted her to be seen and how we see her now.

In progress...