Julia Jackson and Princess Elizabeth

I was just researching Julia’s several versions of Ophelia, and wondering over an image I found of a sculpture of Ophelia dieing (Death of Ophelia) by Sarah Bernhardt, (whom in my ignorance, I did not know that she was (also) an accomplished painter and sculptor), and talking with a friend John Evans who is the official guide to Dimbola, when he mentioned that there was a sculpture of Julia Jackson in St Thomas Minster in Newport.


Carlo Marochetti: Tomb of Princess Elizabeth, St Thomas Minster, Newport Isle of Wight. Elizabeth, daughter of Charles I, famous for the harrowing account of her father’s execution, died age 14 years in 1650. Marochetti was commissioned by Prince Albert and Queen Victoria.

Carlo Marochetti was the sculptor most favoured by Victoria and Albert, and he was a regular attendee and participant at the Little Holland House salon of Julia’s sister, Sarah Prinsep in the 1850s. It was here that in 1854-55, looking for a model to sit for the carving of Princess Elizabeth, he would have met Sarah’s sister Maria (Mia), and her lovely daughter Julia Jackson. Then aged about 10, Julia was the right age (Elizabeth had died at age 14 of pneumonia and rickets), and Marochetti, vastly impressed by her beauty, employed her as a model. Carlo was so impressed by Julia Jackson that he proposed to her soon afterwords)


Carlo Marochetti: Princess Elizabeth – the tomb in St Thomas Minster, Newport, Isle of Wight c 1855. (vertical orientation).

We can compare this to plate 31a from Leslie Stephen’s Photograph Album, taken of Julia age 10, which gives us some idea of just why Marochetti was so  impressed.


unknown (perhaps Leslie Stephen?): Julia Jackson age 10, Plate 31a from the Leslie Stephen Photograph album.

Julia Jackson was not only Julia Margaret’s favourite niece, she was her favourite model too and appears (always as herself) in several portraits. She posed for Edward Burne-Jones, and G.F. Watts, , and was later married to Leslie Stephen, journalist, author and literary editor, who was recovering from the untimely death of his first wife Minny Thackeray. Leslie Stephen was almost already within the Cameron family circle as it were.  Their daughters, Vanessa and Virginia Stephen, later became Vanessa Bell and  Virginia Woolf, central figures of the Bloomsbury Group. (see Harold Bloom (ed): Virginia Woolf, 2005).


Julia Margaret Cameron: Julia Jackson Full Face 1867 Colin Ford comments: “In 1917, Virginia Woolf, Julia Jackson’s daughter, founded the Hogarth Press with her husband Leonard Woolf. In 1926, the press paid tribute to Virginia’s great aunt by publishing 450 copies of Victorian Photographs of Famous Men and Fair Women, by Julia Margaret Cameron, the first and for over twenty years, only book devoted solely to Mrs Cameron’s work.”

(from Colin Ford: The Cameron Collection 1975 p133)



2 thoughts on “Julia Jackson and Princess Elizabeth

  1. Hi Bob,
    Thank you for this blog post about Julia Jackson. I never knew about the statue and am so happy to see it. I can see a strong resemblance. Especially her facial features. The nose is spot on!

  2. Hi Kimberly, thanks for your comment. Marochetti’s beautiful statue is in St Thomas Minster in our local county town of Newport – its eery to see and to be in the presence of this 3d visualisation of Julia’s favourite niece. Did you see it when you were over here? Hope you’re well and bopping xx

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