Dimbola Museum & Galleries

Dimbola Museum & Galleries- Front of the House
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Home and workplace of the internationally acclaimed Victorian photographer Julia Margaret Cameron.

A pioneer of photography as a fine art, Julia Margaret Cameron (1815-1879) was a woman ahead of her time, renowned for her portraits of ‘famous men and fair women’, many of which were created at Dimbola. The house became of focal point for a crowd of bohemian artists, writers and poets, such as Poet Laureate Alfred Lord Tennyson, G.F. Watts and Lewis Carroll.

Visit us for:
- Year round exhibits celebrating Julia’s life and work
- Vintage cameras
- Programme of changing exhibitions
- Victorian dressing-up room
- Isle of Wight Festival displays
- FREE entry to the award-winning Tea Room and Museum Gift Shop

Lively programme of talks and events, check website for further information.

Coach parties, large groups and school parties are welcome, please book in advance.

Venue Type:

Museum, Gallery, Heritage site, Historic house or home

Opening hours

Summer Opening:7 days a week, 10am - 5pm from April to September.
Winter (October to March) Tuesday-Sunday 10am- 4pm
December & January hours may vary please see website for details www.dimbola.co.uk

Admission charges

Adults (Gift Aid) £6.00
Concessions (Gift Aid) £5.50 (Seniors and Students)
Children 5-17 years £2.50
Family (Gift Aid) £15 (2 adults, 2 children)
Friends of the JMCT, Art Fund and Museums Association FREE.
Groups of 10 or more £5 pp or £6 pp with introductory talk


  • Museums Association
  • National Art Pass

Additional info

Wheelchair access via tearoom. Stairlift for access to galleries upstairs. Disabled Toilet.

Original and/or unique photographic images, papers, cameras, books etc. relating to, associated with and illustrating the life and works of Julia Margaret Cameron, or to the life and works of the ‘Freshwater Circle’, or to the history of Dimbola Lodge.

Collection details

Social History, Photography, Personalities, Literature, Fine Art, Film and Media, Archives

Key artists and exhibits

  • photographic exhibitions; Julia Margaret Cameron; Isle of Wight Pop Festivals, past and present; famous contemporary photogaphers (e.g. Lord Snowdon); young and up-and-coming photographers; artists
Exhibition details are listed below, you may need to scroll down to see them all.
Festival 1970

Isle of Wight Festival Exhibition

  • 4 August 2011 — 4 December 2021 *on now

The first Pop Festival in 1968, which was held at Ford Farm near Godshill, featured such bands as Tyrannosaurus Rex and Fairport Convention and was organised to raise funds for a swimming pool locally in Freshwater.

This festival marked a turning point in UK music history. Two further festivals culminated in the huge 1970 event within sight and sound of Dimbola. This saw Jimi Hendrix’s last major performance and his last in the UK. Following a 32 year gap, the IOW festival was relaunched in 2002 and from then on to the present day the IOW festivals (now promoted by Solo Ltd) have been a huge success.

The display includes rare posters and photographs of these legendary festivals. One photograph in particular is a panorama from Afton Down which gives an idea of the audience of 600,000 who gathered to watch Jimi Hendrix, The Doors, Taste, Miles Davis and Joni Mitchell to name a few.

Outside Dimbola there is a small memorial garden with a statue of Jimi Hendrix designed by sculptor John Swindells.

Suitable for

  • Any age
  • Family friendly


Admission fee applies



Captain Alfred Buckham exhibition

Captain Alfred G Buckham: The Sky Traveller

  • 5 October — 16 December 2018 *on now

Creating spectacular images in the face of technical and physical adversity the madcap daredevil Captain Alfred G Buckham (1879-1956) was the foremost aerial photographer of his day. Between 1908 to the early 1930s Buckham risked life and limb to create aerial portraits that are awe-inspiring, poetic and works of technical brilliance.

Alfred Buckham was courageous, almost recklessly so, insecurely squeezed with his large plate camera into a flimsy aircraft taking photographs nobody before had even dared. The last crash he endured left him virtually speechless. But his glistening images are things of rare beauty. Dr Brian Hinton- Chairman.

Spirited artistry with the blood of a risk-taker coursing through his veins, Buckham was a one-off. His first ambition was to be a painter but after seeing an exhibition by Turner he went home and burnt his own work. Those painterly yearnings however did not go up in smoke and they found expression in his aerial photography. During World War 1 he was the first head of aerial reconnaissance for the Royal Navy and later made Captain in the Royal Naval Air Service. However by 1919 he was discharged as one hundred percent disabled, the result of some nine crashes that left him breathing through a tube in his neck for the rest of his life – but did that stop him soaring to dizzying heights risking loss of consciousness to capture spectacular images with his unwieldly large format camera? Definitely not, in fact to add to the drama he would often prefer to go up in stormy weather!

“I always stand up to make an exposure and, taking the precaution to tie my right leg to the seat, I am free to move about rapidly, and easily, in any desired direction; and loop the loop and indulge in other such delights, with perfect safety,” he wrote in 1927!

In an arcane precursor to Photoshop, Buckham also manipulated photographs marrying different cloud formations to landscapes, adding in airplanes and even painting features himself illustrating his aesthetic desires to get the image right.

When you consider not only the tremendous technical challenges he faced but also the restrictions posed on him by his disability, Buckham’s body of work is unquestioningly a marvel of photographic genius. In romantic tradition, the vast spectacle of land and cloudscape is fixed by the lens of Buckham, the sky traveller, and renders the viewer simultaneously insignificant and potent. As Turner is undoubtedly one of Britain’s greatest painters so is Buckham one of our greatest photographers.

The exhibition preview will be on Friday 5th October at 6pm-8pm. All welcome. Refreshments from the tearoom will be available.

Please check website for opening hours www.dimbola.co.uk

Suitable for

  • Family friendly


Adult Gift AidL £6
Concession Gift Aid: £5.50
Family Gift Aid: £15
16 & under: £2.50
Under 5s: Free



Dimbola Museum & Galleries
Terrace Lane
Freshwater Bay
Isle of Wight
PO40 9QE

logo: Heritage Open Days 2014


General Information



Administrative Assistant



01983 756814

All information is drawn from or provided by the venues themselves and every effort is made to ensure it is correct. Please remember to double check opening hours with the venue concerned before making a special visit.