Tag Archives: Dimbola Lodge

The Isle of Wight, V&A Museum and Science Museum mark major bicentenary

What’s “the best kept secret on the Isle of Wight”?

It would be interesting to see just how many hidden gems there are left to be unearthed on an Island that has been a hub of UK tourism ever since Queen Victoria first planted her summer home, Osborne House, there in 1845.  But here’s one to consider…

 Julia Margaret Cameron: one of the greatest portraitists in the history of photography; a member of a Freshwater Circle of glittering literati which gives the world famous Bloomsbury Group a run for their money; last year the subject of an exhibition in Gallery 852 of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City; and soon-to-be-featured in special exhibitions at the V&A in London and on the Isle of Wight – to mark the 200th anniversary of her birth, in 2015.

—o0o—

Dimbola Lodge, at Freshwater Bay on the Isle of Wight, was the home and workplace of this celebrated Victorian photographer.  It’s now a Museum and Gallery dedicated to her life and work, as well as a showcase for contemporary exhibitions from photographers around the globe.

This – according to the home page of the website – is the best kept secret on the Isle of Wight.

New research also shows that the pioneering Victorian Isle of Wight photographer, Julia Margaret Cameron (born June 11th, 1815), was even the inspiration for Lewis Carroll’s White Queen in Through the Looking-glass.  And a recent book, The Freshwater Circle Through The Looking-glass, by Gail Downey Middleton illustrates the connections between the bohemian Freshwater circle on the Isle of Wight, and Lewis Carroll’s famous stories.

Curiouser and curiouser, however, last year’s exhibition at The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York was the first devoted to Cameron’s work in nearly a generation, and the first ever at The Met.

The Museum’s website tells the story well: “When she received her first camera in December 1863 as a gift from her daughter and son-in-law, Cameron was forty-eight, a mother of six, and a deeply religious, well-read, somewhat eccentric friend of many notable Victorian artists, poets, and thinkers.  ‘From the first moment I handled my lens with a tender ardour,’ she wrote, ‘and it has become to me as a living thing, with voice and memory and creative vigour.’  Condemned by some contemporaries for sloppy craftsmanship, she purposely avoided the perfect resolution and minute detail that glass negatives permitted, opting instead for carefully directed light, soft focus, and long exposures that allowed the sitters’ slight movement to register in her pictures, instilling them with an uncommon sense of breath and life.”

Dimbola was Cameron’s home, salon and studio for 15 years between 1860 and 1875 and was where, at the age of 48, she learned the new technology of photography and produced some of the masterpieces of 19th Century photography.  These included portraits of many of the leading figures of the Victorian age who lived in or visited Freshwater Bay, such as Alfred Lord Tennyson and Charles Darwin.

A V&A exhibition is touring internationally before and after its presentation at the V&A in London.  On show atGhentMuseum of Fine Artsuntil June 14th, it will head to the SydneyArt Gallery of New South Wales from August 14th to October 25th.  After returning to the V&A Museum in London from November 2015, to February 2016, it will then go on show at the MadridFundacion Mapfre from March 8th to May 8th, and the TokyoMitsubishi Ichigokan Museumfrom June 29th to September 25th 2016.

The nearby Science Museum in London is also set to stage its own exhibition to commemorate the bicentenary from November 2015, until Spring 2016.

On the Isle of Wight, as well as being able to follow in the footsteps of Cameron, Dimbola Museum & Galleries is planning on a full year of special exhibitions and events to give visitors a full insight into her life and work.

Exhibitions during the bicentenary year will include four, seasonal displays which – drawing on the collections of the National Media Museum in Bradford – will present images taken by Cameron at Dimbola but never before exhibited at the Museum.  The exhibitions, held in a suit of newly refurbished galleries, will explore her career from her early photographic experiments, through her famous images of the bohemian ‘Freshwater Circle’ to her late imaginative illustrations and will particularly focus on her life at Dimbola and how this shaped her work.

Alongside these new presentations work will be a series of quarterly contemporary photography exhibitions which respond to and resonate with her artistic legacy. Those remining include:

*Annie Leibovitz – Pilgrimage (25/04/15-12/07/15)

One of America’s best-known living photographers, Leibovitz images speak in a commonplace language to the photographer’s curiosity about the world she inherited, spanning landscapes both dramatic and quiet, interiors of living rooms and bedrooms, and objects that are talismans of past lives. This exhibition has been specially selected for the exhibition at Dimbola.

*Portrait of an Island: Steve Blamire and Julian Winslow (18/07/15-04/10/15)

A contemporary collection of photographic portraits that captures the Isle of Wight community at a certain point in time, which will ultimately sit as an historic documentation of the people, ideas and work of that community.

*Sunara Begum, Retracing the Eye: Journeys of Migration (10/10/15-03/01/16)

“Art for me is the thread with which we sew together our collective memories. In all my work I try to tell the story of our forever evolving identities. How we came from the root and branched out is always different….Our connection is how we go back.”  Sunara Begum is a visual artist and filmmaker whose work is perfectly placed between East and West. She uses installation, film, photography and text, and has already created her own distinct visual language and aesthetic which is imprinted in all her work.

There will also be bimonthly exhibitions of the work of local schools and community groups who will be exploring and being inspired by Julia’s work.

Further details will be found at www.visitisleofwight.co.uk.

What’s “the best kept secret on the Isle of Wight”?

 

It would be interesting to see just how many hidden gems there are left to be unearthed on an Island that has been a hub of UK tourism ever since Queen Victoria first planted her summer home, Osborne House, there in 1845.  But here’s one to consider…

 

Julia Margaret Cameron: one of the greatest portraitists in the history of photography; a member of a Freshwater Circle of glittering literati which gives the world famous Bloomsbury Group a run for their money; last year the subject of an exhibition in Gallery 852 of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City; and soon-to-be-featured in special exhibitions at the V&A in London and on the Isle of Wight – to mark the 200th anniversary of her birth, in 2015.

—o0o—

 

Dimbola Lodge, at Freshwater Bay on the Isle of Wight, was the home and workplace of this celebrated Victorian photographer.  It’s now a Museum and Gallery dedicated to her life and work, as well as a showcase for contemporary exhibitions from photographers around the globe.

 

This – according to the home page of the website – is the best kept secret on the Isle of Wight.

 

New research also shows that the pioneering Victorian Isle of Wight photographer, Julia Margaret Cameron (born June 11th, 1815), was even the inspiration for Lewis Carroll’s White Queen in Through the Looking-glass.  And a recent book, The Freshwater Circle Through The Looking-glass, by Gail Downey Middleton illustrates the connections between the bohemian Freshwater circle on the Isle of Wight, and Lewis Carroll’s famous stories.

 

Curiouser and curiouser, however, last year’s exhibition at The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York was the first devoted to Cameron’s work in nearly a generation, and the first ever at The Met.

 

The Museum’s website tells the story well: “When she received her first camera in December 1863 as a gift from her daughter and son-in-law, Cameron was forty-eight, a mother of six, and a deeply religious, well-read, somewhat eccentric friend of many notable Victorian artists, poets, and thinkers.  ‘From the first moment I handled my lens with a tender ardour,’ she wrote, ‘and it has become to me as a living thing, with voice and memory and creative vigour.’  Condemned by some contemporaries for sloppy craftsmanship, she purposely avoided the perfect resolution and minute detail that glass negatives permitted, opting instead for carefully directed light, soft focus, and long exposures that allowed the sitters’ slight movement to register in her pictures, instilling them with an uncommon sense of breath and life.”

 

Dimbola was Cameron’s home, salon and studio for 15 years between 1860 and 1875 and was where, at the age of 48, she learned the new technology of photography and produced some of the masterpieces of 19th Century photography.  These included portraits of many of the leading figures of the Victorian age who lived in or visited Freshwater Bay, such as Alfred Lord Tennyson and Charles Darwin.

 

A V&A exhibition is touring internationally before and after its presentation at the V&A in London.  On show atGhentMuseum of Fine Artsuntil June 14th, it will head to the SydneyArt Gallery of New South Wales from August 14th to October 25th.  After returning to the V&A Museum in London from November 2015, to February 2016, it will then go on show at the MadridFundacion Mapfre from March 8th to May 8th, and the TokyoMitsubishi Ichigokan Museumfrom June 29th to September 25th 2016.

 

The nearby Science Museum in London is also set to stage its own exhibition to commemorate the bicentenary from November 2015, until Spring 2016.

 

On the Isle of Wight, as well as being able to follow in the footsteps of Cameron, Dimbola Museum & Galleries is planning on a full year of special exhibitions and events to give visitors a full insight into her life and work.

 

Exhibitions during the bicentenary year will include four, seasonal displays which – drawing on the collections of the National Media Museum in Bradford – will present images taken by Cameron at Dimbola but never before exhibited at the Museum.  The exhibitions, held in a suit of newly refurbished galleries, will explore her career from her early photographic experiments, through her famous images of the bohemian ‘Freshwater Circle’ to her late imaginative illustrations and will particularly focus on her life at Dimbola and how this shaped her work.

 

Alongside these new presentations work will be a series of quarterly contemporary photography exhibitions which respond to and resonate with her artistic legacy. Those remining include:

*Annie Leibovitz – Pilgrimage (25/04/15-12/07/15)

One of America’s best-known living photographers, Leibovitz images speak in a commonplace language to the photographer’s curiosity about the world she inherited, spanning landscapes both dramatic and quiet, interiors of living rooms and bedrooms, and objects that are talismans of past lives. This exhibition has been specially selected for the exhibition at Dimbola.

*Portrait of an Island: Steve Blamire and Julian Winslow (18/07/15-04/10/15)

A contemporary collection of photographic portraits that captures the Isle of Wight community at a certain point in time, which will ultimately sit as an historic documentation of the people, ideas and work of that community.

*Sunara Begum, Retracing the Eye: Journeys of Migration (10/10/15-03/01/16)

“Art for me is the thread with which we sew together our collective memories. In all my work I try to tell the story of our forever evolving identities. How we came from the root and branched out is always different….Our connection is how we go back.”  Sunara Begum is a visual artist and filmmaker whose work is perfectly placed between East and West. She uses installation, film, photography and text, and has already created her own distinct visual language and aesthetic which is imprinted in all her work.

 

There will also be bimonthly exhibitions of the work of local schools and community groups who will be exploring and being inspired by Julia’s work.

  1. Dimbola Museum and Galleries (exterior), © Jake Priddle

 

PICTURE THIS – NEW TOURIST INFORMATION POINT OPENS IN FRESHWATER BAY

Visitors to the West Wight now have further opportunity to keep updated with information about the historic area and the Island thanks to a new Tourist Information Point at Dimbola Museum and Galleries, Freshwater Bay. The TP was opened on Thursday 3rd July by Cllr Shirley Smart, Executive Member for Economy and Tourism Dr Rachel Flynn, Exhibitions and Collections Coordinator at Dimbola and Cllr Clive Fleury, Chairman of Freshwater Parish Council.

The Tourist Information Point is located in the museum shop. As well as enjoying wide ranging exhibitions, discovering more about Julia Margaret Cameron and enjoying a cup of tea in an award winning cafe, visitors will now have access to free, friendly advice and information to help them make the most of their visit to the West Wight and the Isle of Wight.

Updated signage has been created to attract visitors to the Tourist Information Point and staff will be on hand to offer guidance on attractions, entertainment, events and eating out. Visitors and locals alike will be able to pick-up promotional material, including maps, guides and gifts.

Councillor Shirley Smart, Executive member for tourism, said: “I am absolutely delighted that Dimbola has become the latest in our network of tourist information points to open on the Isle of Wight. Dimbola attracts many people to the West Wight thanks to its renowned status in the world of photography so it is a great base for the new point which will provide a wide variety of information for visitors.”

This new visitor centre is the latest in a series of investments made by Visit Isle of Wight, thanks to financial support from the Isle of Wight Council, aimed at improving visitor information across the Island. Since July 2013, new tourist information points have opened in Shanklin, Ryde, Brighstone, Ventnor, Brading, Godshill, Sandown, Newport, Yarmouth and East Cowes. More will be opening this summer including one at Havenstreet.

For a full list of information points go to http://www.visitisleofwight.co.uk/plan-your-visit/tourist-information-points.  

For more information contact: Holly Kirby PR and Marketing Assistant Visit Isle of Wight Ltd holly@visitwight.org

Notes to Editors:

Photo attached from L – R

Brenda Lynn, Emmylou Morey-Clark, John Medland, Cllr Shirley Smart, Cllr Clive Fleury, David Thornton CE Visit Isle of Wight Ltd, Dr Rachel Flynn, Exhibitions and Collections Coordinator at Dimbola

Visit Isle of Wight Ltd

Working in partnership with Visit England, Visit Isle of Wight Ltd (VIOW) is responsible for developing tourism and attracting more visitors to the Isle of Wight.   As well as the consumer website (www.visitisleofwight.co.uk) the DMO also operates a small industry website containing recent research and tourism news along with links to Visit England reports and opportunities: www.visitwight.org

Aerial Reconnaissance & the First World War – Photographic Exhibition: 11th January – 26th February 2014

Dimbola Museum and Galleries, the Island’s home for photography, is launching a remarkable exhibition of World War I aerial photography, bringing together a collection of cameras, photographs and maps to show how these were used by soldiers fighting on the Western Front.  Most have been loaned by descendants currently resident on the Isle of Wight.

World War One saw photo-reconnaissance come of age.  For the first time photographs were taken from immediately above the field of battle and behind enemy lines, giving commanders in the field a unique and accurate picture of terrain and enemy dispositions as they planned operations.

Many of the photographs come from an extraordinary album collected by Lt Frank Vans Agnew, who enlisted into the British Army in 1914 at the age of 46, although at the time he pretended he was 40.

Frank served under the Canadian Cavalry Brigade, led by Islander General Jack Seely, who lived in Brook.

Include in the collection are original reconnaissance photographs and maps covering the 1917 battles of Messines and the third battle of Ypres, otherwise known as Passchendaele.

Frank was wounded at Messines and awarded the Military Cross for gallantry.  He was wounded a second time and captured during the 1st battle of Cambrai in Nov 1917.  He saw out the end of the war in Prisoner of War camps.

Prior to his enlistment, adventurer Frank had worked as an orange farmer in Florida, a copper miner in what is now Kazakhstan, and had served with an US Cavalry Regiment in the Spanish-American War.

IoW Cllr Bob Seely, whose great, great uncle commander the brigade in which Frank served, said:

“These photographs and maps are unique insight into how, 100 years ago, modern aerial reconnaissance developed.

“By 1917 when Lt Vans Agnew was a junior tank commander, the British Army was beginning to use tactics and planning which today’s soldiers would recognise; such as the use of aerial photography to develop imint – imagery intelligence – to understand and plot enemy positions and give commanders battle-winning information.

Imint, combined with combined arms tactics linking artillery, air, infantry, cavalry and the new-fangled tanks, helped turn the British Army into an increasing formidable and mobile machine.”

Invitation to contribute to Dimbola’s 2018 First World War Centenary Exhibition

Dimbola is interested in hearing from Islanders who may have photographs from the First World War taken by their friends or relatives. If you are interested in contributing to an exhibition to mark the centenary of the Armistice in Autumn 2018 please contact rachel.flynn@dimbola.co.uk.

Exhibition Open Evening

An Open Evening view of this exhibition will be held on Friday 17th January, 6-8pm. There will be hot and cold drinks available from a fully-licensed cash bar and an opportunity to view the Isle of Wight Photographer of the Year exhibition (11th Jan-30th Mar). All welcome, please RSVP to rachel.flynn@dimbola.co.uk.

Exhibition Talk

On Thursday 13th February at 6pm John Evans, one of the exhibition organisers, will be providing a fascinating insight into this historically-significant technology and the way in which it was used during the First World War. The talk will be followed by a reception and the opportunity to see the exhibition with hot and cold drinks available from a fully-licensed cash bar. Tickets are £4 and are available from Dimbola or by calling 01983 756814.

ENDS

NOTES TO EDITORS

Information on Dimbola Museum and Galleries

The former home of the pioneering Victorian photographer Julia Margaret Cameron now houses permanent display of Cameron’s photographs and an historic camera collection.  As well as hosting a programme of regularly changing contemporary exhibitions Dimbola is also home to a permanent display on the history of the Isle of Wight Festival.

For further information, please contact the Exhibitions & Collections Coordinator Rachel Flynn on: 01983 756 814 / rachel.flynn@dimbola.co.uk / www.dimbola.co.uk

 

Galleries, Museum and Tearooms Open Tuesday to Sunday and Bank Holidays 10am-4pm

 (November to March) and 7 Days a week from 10am-5pm (April to October)

Adults £5 (Gift Aid Admission), Concessions £4 (Gift Aid Admission), Friends of the JMCT, Artfund and Children under 16 years FREE