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DateLecture
05 November 2019Wessex Explored - Thomas Hardy's World
03 December 2019Jewellery of the Renaissance
07 January 2020The History of the English Garden
04 February 2020Murder, Sex & Mayhem in English Churches
03 March 2020Corridors of Time: Travellers through Provence & Burgundy
07 April 2020Bhutan: the Kingdom of the Thunder Dragon
05 May 2020Indians, Buffalos and Storms: American West in 19th century Art
02 June 2020Toulouse Lautrec: the Golden Age of Cabaret
01 September 2020The Mottisfont Angel
06 October 2020The English Country Church: the Tudors to the Present Day
03 November 2020Handel in Georgian England
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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.