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.
Iconic Bowie Exhibition Poster

Iconic Bowie

  • 7 June — 18 August 2019 *on now

Dimbola Museum & Galleries is delighted to be hosting Iconic Bowie, a major retrospective of the extraordinary life of David Bowie. A journey in which the Isle of Wight witnessed his first public musical performance at a Corf Scout Camp, Shalfleet in 1958 and Bowie’s last UK live show headlining at the Isle of Wight Festival in 2004.

Iconic Bowie showcases both stunning and intimate portraits of Bowie by some of the world’s greatest photographers. The photographs, from the extensive Iconic Images archive, were taken over his phenomenal 50-year career and draw into focus the remarkable contribution Bowie made to culture, music and art. These portraits contain rare moments, the force of Bowie's unique nature and his personality on film. Each image is an illuminating artefact of one of the greatest artists that has ever lived:

“Great portrait photographers do a rare thing through extraordinary alchemy that renders light, exposure, emotion, soul, sorrow, joy, beauty forever fixed in time. Iconic Bowie contains images that startle the world and provide an illuminating insight into the astonishing career of David Bowie,” Brian Hinton, Chairman of Dimbola Museum and Galleries. The Iconic Images archive is one of the biggest collections of David Bowie imagery under one house. Terry O’Neill, Kevin Cummins, Markus Klinko, Justin de Villenuve, Milton H. Greene and Gerald Fearnley all had important roles throughout the visual life of this singular artist. Through the collective lens of these creative photographers, a true visual image of Bowie the artist was realised.

Join us on Friday 7th June at 19.00 for a Q&A and exclusive insights from legendary photographer Kevin Cummins. Manchester-born Kevin Cummins has an international reputation as one of the world's leading photographers. He has photographed numerous bands and musicians including Joy Division, The Clash, Sex Pistols, R.E.M., U2, Patti Smith, Marc Bolan, The Smiths and of course David Bowie.

Cummins first photographed Bowie as the star’s alter ego, Ziggy Stardust on his Aladdin Sane tour of 1972-1973 and went on to photograph and be influenced by him throughout his career. Cummins can remember the effect of seeing Bowie on stage:

'I went to see David Bowie when I was in my teens. I had never seen anything like that on stage and I had seen various things which were all very flashy and very showy. Now, it may seem normal but at the time nobody really had that kind of theatricality in rock ‘n’ rock,' Kevin Cummins

To celebrate Bowie’s influence on art and culture, Dimbola has invited contemporary British sculptor Guy Portelli to curate an artists’ response to Bowie in the Charles Hay Gallery. The collection, featuring artists Keith Haynes, Chris Myers RBA RI, Guy Portelli PVPRBA FRBS, will show artworks inspired by the music and iconic imagery of David Bowie.

Exploring the Isle of Wight/Bowie connection there will be a rare display of ephemera tracing Bowie’s early footsteps on the Island. These include copies of The Bowie Bureau (1977-1982) a magazine produced by two long-standing friends and sent from their Ventnor home to destinations throughout the world as well as adverts from Bowie's three early appearances at Ventnor Winter Gardens with Davy Jones & the Lower Third in the summer of 1965.

ICONIC BOWIE is kindly sponsored by Wightlink, Solo Agency, Style of Wight and The Seaview Hotel. All exhibition images are limited editions and available to purchase.

Please RSVP to elissa.blizzard@dimbola.co.uk if you would like to attend the preview.

Exhibition runs until the 18th August.

Suitable for

  • 14-15
  • 18+
  • 5-6
  • 11-13
  • 16-17
  • Any age


£5.45 Adult £6 gift aid adult £5 senior £5.50 Gift aid senior



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



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.