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Wessex Explored - Thomas Hardy's World Elizabeth Merry Tuesday 05 November 2019

Elizabeth has over 25 years' experience lecturing on a range of subjects including classical art and architecture, aspects of the visual arts and the links between literature and art. Has lectured for the WEA, the Universities of Bristol and Southampton Departments of Continuing Education, Royal Society of Arts, Dillington House, Jane Austen Society, Thomas Hardy Society, Brussels Brontë Society, Finzi Society, the Art Fund, Dorset County Museum and literary, historical and philosophical societies nationwide. Has also lectured on study tours to Rome, Aachen, Cologne, Brittany and the Dordogne, as well as all over the UK. Lectured in Australia and New Zealand in 2011 and is returning to Australia for two further lecture tours.

Thomas Hardy’s Wessex is the land of his creative imagination - a sort of ‘dream Dorset’ based on the county of his birth - which provided the rich and complex background for his passionate and original novels and poems of pastoral life. It is a palimpsest of the real thing, a backdrop for his scenes of tragedy and comedy, rural life and glimpses of a world which was vanishing even during his own lifetime. He gave it what he called a ‘flexible identity’, changing names and locations, enlarging or shrinking areas as it suited his creative purpose. The talented watercolourist Henry Moule was a close friend of Hardy and later became curator of the Dorset County Museum. Walter Tyndale was a Victorian painter who specialised in landscape and architectural watercolours. His detailed yet delicate application of watercolour imbued his work with a vivid sense of life and colour. Looking at their paintings of rural Dorset and through Hardy’s own words we will be able to explore Hardy’s Wessex.