The Cabin, overlooking the East Lime-Kiln on Bucks Mills beach, is thought to have been converted at some point from a former boathouse and was a family holiday let for the Ackland family since 1913 when Judith’s mother took the lease. The two artists, Judith Ackland and Mary Stella Edwards met and started their artistic career together at Regent Street Polytechnic in London during the 1920s. It was due to this friendship blossoming, that we saw the introduction of Mary Stella Edwards to The Cabin for the first time in September 1924. Mary Stella writes after the event with a great literary flourish.
“The walls of random rubble plastered and whitewashed, the windows in the stove corner looking to Clovelly, the sly defiance of the whole challenging the sea; the sweep of the rays of sunlight and starlight and storm, with the waves sending spray to the top of the slip, and Ernest Braund (with his son and the last of the fishermen whose fleet of sixteen boats once lined the beach) standing motionless against the dark sea-facing at what he loves most in the world – are part of my life forever.“
From this first visit, through daily correspondence, the couple planned their yearly visits to what became their “Island home”. The pair juggled between work commitments, family obligations and illness to make sure they could spend at least a month at The Cabin every year. The archive documents these struggles as well as the awakening of the area as their sketching home in the 1930s. Paintings of Bucks Mills were always sold with regret but their sale was justified as raising funds to allow them to keep visiting, and ultimately helped them purchase the property in 1948.