"To see a world in a grain of sand,
And a heaven in a wild flower,
Hold infinity in the palm of your hand
And eternity in an hour."

From "Auguries of Innocence"

by William Blake

Thursday, 20 July 2017

Isle of Wight Day 5 4th July - The Needles Breezer Part 2: Yarmouth, Dimbola Lodge, Freshwater and the Buddle Inn, Niton

The Breezer travels along a coast road to get to Yarmouth. The zoom lens on the Canon came in useful for this photo of Hurst Castle - well worth a visit. We went there on a boat trip from Yarmouth on our last Isle of Wight holiday.


We got off the bus in Yarmouth for a quick look round.


I do like Yarmouth - it is small and pretty and not, in my view, too touristy. There is the castle (this is one place we have never yet visited), a pier (longest remaining wooden pier of its type in the UK) an interesting church, some good craft shops and second hand book store and, of course, the harbour and the tidal waters, salt marsh and mudflats of the Western Yar.





Osborne plucked up courage to sit on this "sea monster" seat - I think this is new as I don't remember seeing it before.


Osborne wanted to know why we didn't have a boat of our own - just so he could go on a sea trip!

Mosaics at the entrance to Yarmouth Castle which was built in the last years of Henry VIII's reign as a result of international problems between England, France and the Holy Roman Empire.

More on the church on the last day of the holiday when I managed a brief visit.

Back then on the Breezer to head back to Freshwater and Dimbola Lodge which was the home of pioneering photographer Julia Margaret Cameron (1815-1879) and now a museum and art gallery run by the Julia Margaret Cameron Trust.

Sculpture of Jimi Hendrix in the garden.

Such a shame the bookshop was closed :(

Julia Cameron was a very important person in the early days of photography. She was a lady well ahead of her time and was ambitious and free-thinking.

The photos she took are among the most famous portraits of Victorian "celebrities". She experimented with close-up and diffused focal techniques which were to influence future photographers.

In 1835 she met Sir John Herschel whose many scientific interests included the use of chemicals in photographic processing. In 1863, when she was living at Dimbola, her daughter gave her a camera for Christmas to cheer up her loneliness as her husband was away from home at their coffee plantations. She took to photography with real enthusiasm converting a glazed "fowl house" into a studio and using a coal house as a dark room. Within a year she was elected a Member of the London Photographic Society. A sitting to have your portrait taken could have taken hours and Tennyson (from nearby Farringford house) told the American poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow before his sitting that "you will have to do whatever she tells you; I will come back soon and see what is left of you".

Local people were also used as models e.g. the local cobbler's daughter Mary Hillier was used as a model for Madonnas and a porter from Yarmouth posed as King Arthur.

There were three phases in her photography. Between 1864 -66 she didn't take many portraits as her main theme was religion, for example, Madonnas. Between 1866 and 1870 she focused on portraits of famous men and women. Through Tennyson she met many leading writers, artists and thinkers. After 1870 she concentrated on portraits devoted to illustrating poetry.

The museum contains exhibits of Julia's photos, a timeline of her life and details of the photographic techniques she used. There is a changing exhibition which features work by present day photographers/artists, a Victorian Dressing Room with outfits to try on, displays of vintage cameras and an Isle of Wight Festival display with photos, posters, sculptures from the largest ever-staged festival held in 1970 at East Afton Farm.

There was a frame here containing smoky glass so you could try and recreate some of her effects. Sadly not the best of photos of Osborne - I had to hold him myself as D had disappeared and the camera card holder was playing up big time as I tried to hold it shut and click the shutter at the same time.

I didn't take too many pictures of her photos as with them reflecting lights it was difficult but this is one of Tennyson "The Dirty Monk" taken in 1865.

"The Freshwater Circle"

Dimbola was frequently visited by bohemian artists, poets and writers such as Poet Laureate Alfred, Lord Tennyson, G F Watts, Lewis Carroll and William Thackeray. In 1853 Alfred Tennyson with his wife and family moved to Farringford House Freshwater (I believe the house is opening to the public this summer) where he wrote "The Charge of the Light Brigade", "Crossing the Barr" and "Maud". Many writers, actresses, models and painters stayed with him such as John Herschel, Lewis Carroll, Alice Liddell, Edward Lear and Ellen Terry.

Note for Rosie - I picked up a free leaflet at Dimbola on the Freshwater Circle which has a map showing various houses, churches etc. connected to the Freshwater Circle - worth looking out for :)

Display of old Olympus cameras

Some items in the Isle of Wight Festival exhibition

Julia's bedroom

I found Dimbola exceedingly interested and was glad to have finally visited as I have wanted to go for years.

Insect drawings in the paving slabs on the way back to the car.



In the evening we went out to celebrate D's birthday at one of our favourite Pubs - The Buddle Inn, Niton which is a traditional 16th smugglers' pub with great coastal views.






"Sun Dogs" (second photo) in the sky on the drive home as sunset approaches.



A slice of the Dorset Apple Cake I made served with clotted cream. It didn't rise as well as usual as I had to use a bigger and shallower cake tin!


*D - Photos taken by D with the Canon bridge camera SX 50

References - Various leaflets bought from Dimbola on the subject of Julia Margaret Cameron

Day 6 - we visit the East side of the island (Ryde and Bembridge) and Tennyson finally gets an outing!


Deborah RusticPumpkin said...

Well, now I feel really rather silly ~ I never knew Yarmouth was on the Isle of Wight! {hangs head in shame}
Sweet Osborne, bless his cotton socks, sitting on a sea monster, then posing so willingly for a smokey glass photo!

Ragged Robin said...

DeborahRusticPumpkin - Thank you :) TBH until we went to the Isle of Wight for the first time I always used to get it confused with Great Yarmouth in Norfolk!
I am beginning to think I should take Osborne out more :)

amanda peters said...

I to was thinking Yarmouth was on this side, I can tell you its a much nicer place than Great Yarmouth !
Another lovely place and a good read, interesting reading about Julia Cameron would have enjoyed looking round.Pub food YUM...
Amanda xx

Bovey Belle said...

Wow - you packed a lot in didn't you? I've never heard of Julia Margaret Cameron or indeed Dimbola. What a shame I no longer live in Hampshire or Dorset, or I'd be across to the IoW like a shot. A really interesting post, thankyou.

Ragged Robin said...

Amanda Peters - Thanks Amanda - never been to Great Yarmouth!

Museum was v. interesting. The Buddle does super food - but its not cheap - as dear as The Sun nearer the cottage! But it was D's birthday :)

Bovey Belle - Thank you. Yes, IoW is a super place - so much of interest to see and do and wonderful for wildlife.

Rosie said...

Yarmouth sounds just my kind of place and Dimbola looks wonderful, it's a shame the bookshop was closed! I enjoyed reading about the displays I've had a fascination with JMC since I saw an exhibition of her work many years ago and I'm always fascinated with the connections between groups of people who lived and worked together in a certain place like the Freshwater Circle, Great Bardfield painters and etc so thanks for the note about the leaflet I'll look out for that. Your special birthday meal looks wonderful too:)

Thank's for the message re the Bee Eaters, hopefully they will stay around for a while longer as I can't see us getting there at the moment, appart from our visit to Nottigham to the Pterosaur talk we've had a bad week, the drains down to us blocked further up and our water authority really messed up and suffice to say it all ended in our garden and everything is ruined and has to be replaced - gravel, pots, furniture etc all contaminated. Plus flag stones to be relaid where it all burst through:(

Mike@Bit About Britain said...

Fascinating - and great photos. I have many happy memories of holidays on the Island when I was a boy, but, surprisingly, don't remember any of this!

Ragged Robin said...

Rosie -Thanks so much. I hope I didn't put too much information in the post to spoil your first view when you go - but there is lots to see there. Farringford House had a big sign outside saying opening Summer 2017 so it may well be open when you visit and worth checking? I would imagine you can probably buy books on JMC and the Freshwater Circle too?

Oh dear - I am so very very sorry to hear about the awful damage to your garden - you must be really heartbroken. I know how lovely your garden looks and how much time you spend on it so you must be so angry and sad. I hope the water authority are taking some responsibility and doing all they can to help put right the contamination. It sounds a nightmare scenario :( Bee-eaters must be the last thing on your mind.

Mike@Bit About Britain. Thanks so much for visiting my blog and leaving such a kind comment. We went a couple of times to the Isle of Wight too when I was a child and the only part I remember of West Wight was the coloured sands at Alum Bay!

Blogoratti said...

Such a beautiful and historic place to visit, and quite interesting indeed. The photos are wonderful, thanks for sharing it all. Warm greetings!

Ragged Robin said...

Blogoratti - Thank you so much for visiting my blog and leaving a comment. Warm Greetings to you too :)
I am so pleased you enjoyed the post.