With friends to stay over the Easter break we decided to have an hour or two of culture in amongst our activities. As photography is on everyone’s lists of hobbies these days we headed down to Freshwater Bay to the beautiful Dimbola Lodge to view the museum and galleries there.
Julia Margaret Cameron was brought a camera by her daughter at the age of 48 and from there became one of the best mature photographers of her time. The amazing fact is we all have a Julia Margaret Cameron picture in our presence – on the back of the English £10 note is a picture of Darwin taken by the forward thinking lady herself.
With neighbours like Lord Alfred Tennyson at Freshwater Bay she was not short of Victorian celebrities to fill her portfolio with as you will see. A fascinating collection and well worth a visit.
Also on display here is Carinthia West’s collection. Another socialite but of the 1960’s, Carinthia, also a resident of the Isle of Wight was a model and actress. Her inner circle included Mick Jagger, Helen Mirren and David Bowie.
Carinthia has recently shared her photographs from this time. A very different collection to Julia Margaret Camerons’, it does feel like you are flicking through someone’s personnel collection of memories. Whilst it is nice to see the personnel caring sides of these iconic people, it does feel like you are being rather intrusive at times.
It is worth visiting this lovely lodge in Freshwater, there are plenty of staff on site happy to give you an informative guided tour. There is even a photo room with numerous Victorian costumes for you to try on and take pictures of yourself in. Great fun!
Once you have worked up a thirst, the tearooms have plenty of cakes for refreshments, or you can wonder up to the Dandelion Café on the headland. Freshwater Bay is breathtaking and you forget how blessed you are to visit a collection in such beautiful surroundings. Lord Alfred Tennysons’ favourite place to sit and find inspiration is just a stroll away on the cliff edge, marked by a monument in his honor. Its well worth spending the day here and exploring the magic that drew these forward thinking individuals to this coast line.