The coast and landscape of West Wight have inspired painters, photographers and writers for more than 200 years.
George Morland stayed at The Inn, now The Albion hotel. JMW Turner’s first oil painting Fishermen at Sea portrays a storm in Freshwater Bay. He must have witnessed the raging waters from the windows of the same inn in 1796.
Victorian photography pioneer Julia Margaret Cameron fell in love with the intense stillness and clarity of light. Her home at Dimbola Lodge is now a museum of photography. Famous visitors included Tennyson, Darwin, Thackeray, Longfellow, Sir Arthur Sullivan, Edward Lear, Ellen Terry, John Ruskin, John Everett Millais, Robert Browning, Thomas Carlyle, Lewis Carroll and little Alice Liddell. This Victorian cultural circle was satirised by Mrs Cameron’s great-niece Virginia Woolf in her play Freshwater.
Later visitors to Freshwater Bay include TS Eliot (on honeymoon), George Bernard Shaw (also on honeymoon!), John Betjeman, JB Priestley, WH Auden, Christopher Isherwood and DH Lawrence. The Trespassers includes recognisable descriptions of the beach and cliffs… all within a few minutes’ walk of the bothy at Freshwater Bay, Isle of Wight.