Julia Margaret Cameron was one of the most important figures in early photography. The portraits she created remain among the most famous images of many Victorian celebrities, and her daring experimentation with close-up and diffused focus techniques influenced many later developments in photographic art. She did almost all her photography at Dimbola, the house she bought with her husband in the 1860s and occupied for some fifteen years. An adapted 'glazed fowl house' served as a studio, and here she photographed local people and servants as well as her famous friends and visitors. Many of these were part of the so-called 'Freshwater circle' of poets, artists and bohemians: the Poet Laureate, Alfred Lord Tennyson (1808-1892), the painters G. F. Watts (1817-1904) and William Holman Hunt (1827-1910), and Lewis Carroll (1832-1898), author of Alice in Wonderland, and also a photographer.
After the house was threatened with partial demolition in 1993, the Julia Margaret Cameron Trust was established to save and restore Dimbola. It now owns and manages the site, together with a growing permanent collection of works by Cameron and her contemporaries. Alongside a major programme of exhibitions by contemporary artists, Dimbola Museum and Galleries preserves and displays the house's original Victorian features - its neo-Gothic carvings, William Morris wallpaper and a staircase built to Cameron's own design - and Cameron's lovingly restored living quarters. The growing permanent collection also includes a significant group of Cameron's own photographs.
Isle of Wight
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