Hardy's Wessex: The landscapes that inspired a writer

Hardy's Wessex

About

The largest collection of Thomas Hardy objects ever displayed at one time.

A major exhibition across four venues – Dorset Museum, The Salisbury Museum, Wiltshire Museum and Poole Museum.

Take a fresh look at the Victorian novelist and poet, Thomas Hardy, in the stunning Wessex landscapes that shaped his view of the world. His story will be retold in exciting new ways by our museum collections, from period costumes to personal letters, art to archaeology.

- Four exhibitions, each exploring a different Hardy theme
- A treasure trove of objects that give personal insights into Thomas Hardy's life
- Many of the objects have never been on public display before
- Each exhibition has a star object on loan from a national museum

Pick up a discount voucher when you visit, and use it to get a generous 25% off the entrance price to one of the other Hardy exhibitions.

Coastal Wessex - love and war

Poole Museum
Exhibition entry £5

Experience the romance and excitement of the coastline which inspired Thomas Hardy's writing. This exhibition explores the coastal themes in Hardy's life – from first meeting his wife Emma on the wild cliffs of Cornwall, to his fascination with the Napoleonic wars.

See the difference between Hardy's romanticised views of love and war in his early life, to his portrayal of the realities of both in his later writings.

Romance versus reality
Hardy was a man conflicted. While he wanted to believe in the romance of love and war, objects like the letter telling him of his cousin's death at Gallipoli and malicious gossip written about his first marriage show that romance and reality were often different.

Explore these questions:
- How did Hardy's legacy influence the young First World War poets, like Siegfried Sassoon and Edmund Blunden?
- Did Hardy's own love life reflect that of his characters?
- Was Hardy a conscientious objector?

Highlights for visitors

- The macabre bone guillotine was carved by a Napoleonic prisoner of war. This gruesome period of history inspired Hardy's romantic love triangle in the novel, The Trumpet-Major, between soldier John Loveday, his sailor brother Bob Loveday and Anne Garland.

- His epic three-volume poem, The Dynasts, inspired some of the greatest war poets of the next generation.

- The Tribute Book was presented to Hardy by Siegfried Sassoon, representing 43 of the greatest writers of the age, including Rudyard Kipling, Walter de la Mare and Robert Graves. It acknowledged the influence he'd had on their writing.


This exhibition is supported by the Weston Loan Programme with Art Fund.

Poole Museum is part of the NPO (National Partnership Organisation) with Wessex Museums.

Wessex Museums is a charity that exists to build the resilience of partner museums and make them relevant to diverse audiences.

Book Now

Poole Museum Service
4 High Street
Poole
Dorset
BH15 1BW
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Tel01202128888

Opening Times

Hardy's Wessex: The landscapes that inspired a writer (28 May 2022 - 30 Oct 2022)
DayTimes
Monday - Sunday10:00 - 17:00

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Map & Directions

Road Directions

Poole Museum, Scaplen's Court and Poole History Centre are all situated very close together on the lower high street just off Poole Quay.

Parking - We do not have dedicated on-site parking available. The nearest car park is Quay Visitors car park, Strand Street, BH15 1SB and is within walking distance of the Museum.

Please note: From 1 April to 31 October, 10am to 10pm, the Lower High Street, Paradise Street and Poole Quay will be closed to motor vehicles.

Public Transport Directions

Buses - Route One links the town's car parks, bus and rail stations with the Lower High Street.

Train - The railway station is just over half a mile from the museum by a mainly traffic-free walk.

Bicycles - We have parking for bicycles and many cycle friendly routes in Poole.There is a Beryl bike bay outside Poole Museum.

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