Julia Margaret Cameron was a child of Empire - and indeed Empire, and Britain's possessions in South Asia, ran all the way through her life.
She was born in Calcutta in 1815, married there in 1838, and died in Ceylon (now Sri Lanka) in 1879. Her home in the Isle of Wight was named after her husband's coffee and tea plantations in the highlands of central Ceylon.
Cameron lived here at Freshwater Bay for just fifteen years - from 1860 to 1875 - but this is where she developed her skill as a photographer, and as quite the most exceptional portrait photographer of this very early stage in the development of the medium.
Her old home here, Dimbola, is now largely given over to displays of her photographs and details of her life (and there's an excellent tea room too).
Tennyson too lived at Freshwater Bay on the Isle of Wight. Cameron came to visit him here, liked the place and bought two cottages close by, which she later connected by the addition of an eye-catching tower.
The view out is over Tennyson Down to the sea.
When Julia Margaret Cameron and her husband moved to Ceylon, she continued to photograph, though on a smaller scale - but her subjects were unnamed, and were types more than individuals. A reflection of the time, perhaps, but a pity.
Dimbola has another aspect - it's close to the site of the early Isle of Wight festivals and has an exhibition, largely photographs, about the festivals and those that have played there.
In 1969, Dylan topped the bill - having failed to play at Woodstock just daays earlier even though he lived there.
The following year's festival was the biggie - attended by half-a-million and headlined by Jimi Hendrix who died just a couple of weeks later. Dimbola has a statue of Hendrix - a nice touch!
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