Virginia. She underwent the usual fate of early Victorian beauty: was mobbed in the streets, 
celebrated in odes, and even made the subject of a paper in Punch by Thackeray, "On a good-
looking lady." It did not matter that the sisters had been brought up by their French grandmother 
in household lore rather than in book learning. "They were artistic to their finger tips, with an
appreciation—almost to be called a culte—for beauty." In India their conquests were many, and
when they married and settled in England, they had the art of making round them, whether at
Freshwater or at Little Holland House, a society of their own ("Pattledom" it was christened by
Sir Henry Taylor), where they could drape and arrange, pull down and build up, and carry on
life in a high-handed and adventurous way which painters and writers and even serious men of
affairs found much to their liking. "Little Holland House, where Mr. Watts lived, seemed to me a
paradise," wrote Ellen Terry, "where only beautiful things were allowed to come. All the women
were graceful, and all the men were gifted." There, in the many rooms of the old Dower House,
Mrs. Prinsep lodged Watts and Burne Jones, and entertained innumerable friends among lawns
and trees which seemed deep in the country, though the traffic of Hyde Park Corner was only
two miles distant. Whatever they did, whether in the cause of religion or of friendship, was done 

Was a room too dark for a friend? Mrs. Cameron would have a window built instantly to catch 
the sun. Was the surplice of the Rev. C. Beanlands only passably clean? Mrs. Prinsep would 
set up a laundry in her own house and wash the entire linen of the clergy of St. Michael's at 
her own expense. Then when relations interfered, and begged her to control her extravagance, 
she nodded her head with its coquettish white curls obediently, heaved a sigh of relief as her 
counsellors left her, and flew to the writing-table to despatch telegram after telegram to her 
sisters describing the visit. "Certainly no one could restrain the Pattles but themselves," says Lady 
Troubridge. Once indeed the gentle Mr. Watts was known to lose his temper. He found two little 
girls, the granddaughters of Mrs. Prinsep, shouting at each other with their ears stopped so that 
they could hear no voices but their own. Then he delivered a lecture upon self-will, the vice, he 
said, which they had inherited from their French ancestress, Madame de l'Étang. "You will grow 
up imperious women," he told them, "if you are not careful." Had they not into the bargain an 
ancestor who blew the lid off his coffin?

Certainly Julia Margaret Cameron had grown up an imperious woman; but she was without her 
sisters' beauty. In the trio where, as they said, Lady Somers was Beauty, and Mrs. Prinsep Dash,