Hardy's Wessex

The landscapes that inspired a writer 

Major exhibition across four museums

28 May – 30 Oct 2022

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

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 collection

Pick up a discount voucher when you buy a ticket, and use it to get a generous 25% off the entrance price to each of the subsequent  Hardy exhibitions.  

We are hugely grateful to Battens Solicitors for sponsoring this exhibition. Battens has a 300-year old history in the south west – it’s Yeovil office was open in the days when Thomas Hardy was finding his inspiration in the Wessex landscapes.

Join in – there’s something for everyone! 

Each museum has opportunities for you to immerse yourself in Hardy’s world, from selfie stations to replica writing desks, dancing to gardening. 

Don’t miss our exciting programme of events and activities, including film screenings, family storytelling, crafts and artist workshops. 

Also check out the list of other local venues across Dorset and Wiltshire that are supporting us with Hardy displays and events.

Love books? Then delve into Wessex Words – our Hardy Reading Challenge. It’s full of book reviews and recommendations, compiled in association with BCP, Dorset and Wiltshire Libraries. 

Remember there are discounts for group bookings.

Two young girls drawing on posters
Find out how Hardy tackled class snobbery and animal cruelty.
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Experience the romance and excitement of the coastline that so inspired Hardy.
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Discover Hardy's thinking about women's rights and religion.
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See how Wiltshire's ancient burial mounds and beliefs seeped into Hardy’s writing
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Discover more Hardy displays and events across Dorset and Wiltshire.
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Thank you to all the organisations and individuals who have supported our exhibition.
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Our star loans were made possible by support from the Weston Loan Programme with Art Fund

Sawfish are also called carpenter sharks...but they are rays, not sharks!

There’s also a species called a sawshark, but that’s, well, a shark!

What the heck is a lek?

Males great bustards perform spectacular courtship displays, gathering at a ‘lek’ or small display ground to try to impress the females.

Road Runner!

The great bustard has a dignified slow walk but tends to run when disturbed, rather than fly.

Belly Buster!

The hen-bird on display at The Salisbury Museum was one of the last great bustards to be eaten in the town!

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