Dimbola Lodge home of Julia Margaret Cameron in photographs

Julia Margaret Cameron with her two sons Charles and Henry (1859)
Photograph taken by Lewis Carroll

In 1859, Julia Margaret Cameron was holidaying with her three sons on the Isle of Wight while her husband Charles Hay Cameron was back home in Ceylon (now Sri Lanka). Julia Margaret liked what she saw of the Isle of Wight so much that she wrote this back home in a letter to her husband, 

This island might equal your island  now for richness of effects. The downs are covered with golden gorse & beneath them the blue hyacinth is so thickly opened that the valleys look as if the 'sky were upbreaking thro' the Earth...The trees too are luxuriant here - far more flourishing than they usually are by the sea - And Alfred Tennyson's wood may satisfy any forester.

 One of the few published and surviving photogrpahs of the home of photographer, Julia Margaret Cameron, Dimbola Lodge, Freshwater Bay, Isle of Wight, 1871, unknown photographer, private collection. 

 Let us walk on past the great cedar to the little green door which opens into the lane near the bridge. Tennyson passed this way very often to Dimbola, the house of his restless friend and neighbor, Mrs. Cameron, which stands by the roadside some half the way from Farringford to the sea. In the days between 1860 and 1878 when the Camerons left for Ceylon, Mrs. Cameron was almost as famous and well-known a figure in Freshwater as Tennyson himself. 

Around October of 1860 Mr. and Mrs. Cameron met a sailor and lodging-house keeper named Jacob Long who sold them two cottages. One they named Dimbola, after one of their coffee estates in Ceylon and the other one was named Sunnyside. They joined a center tower in the middle of the front of the house together on either side of it and the single house was then referred to as, Dimbola Lodge. This new home adjoined the property of Alfred Tennyson at the time and Tennyson cleared some trees that were in the way in order to make a road that reached down to the sea.

I wanted to provide a brief background of Dimbola Lodge in order to excitedly share with you here photographs of Julia Margaret Cameron's house, Dimbola Lodge, dating from 1913, taken by photogapher, Alvin Langdon Coburn. 

Here is my photograph above taken July 2015. You can see the center tower now the main entrance to Dimbola Lodge sign and blue plaque over the door. It is now a museum. Also, look in the 1913 photograph to the right of the tower between the two houses to the right is a small archway door that is now the main entrance to a local bookshop called Cameron Books. You can see the same archway in my photograph still there today. The only thing different is the wooden balcony above. Quite possibly the balcony where Mrs. Cameron stood to people watch and find her latest sitters!

 This is the right side of the house passed the center tower which today is the main entrance into Dimbola


Evie Hodgson said…
Fabulous kimberley. Excellent sleuthing. :)
Kimberly Eve said…
Thanks so much Evie. I love these discoveries :)
WoofWoof said…
Very interesting photographs. Did you see the statue of Jimi Hendrix? It strikes me as an odd place to put it but it certainly attracts attention!
Kimberly Eve said…
Hi WoofWoof,

Yes, I saw the statue of Jimi Hendrix. I thought he'd be taller ;) I'm not sure what he's doing there except for the fact that he played the Isle of Wight Festival in 1970. So glad you stopped by!