On Thursday 6th June Helen Gibson, honorary curator at Dorset County Museum, and Marilyn Leah, former custodian of Max Gate, Hardy’s Dorchester home, discuss the life and work of Emma Gifford – first wife of Thomas Hardy. This is a celebration of the life of a remarkable woman in words and images with reminiscences of her early life, her meeting with Thomas Hardy, the story of their courtship and their life together.
Emma Lavinia Gifford was the first Mrs Thomas Hardy. Diarist, Suffragette and Campaigner, Emma’s own words describe her beliefs and convictions, and her artistic accomplishment is seen in images of her watercolours and sketches from the extensive Hardy Collection at Dorset County Museum.
Emma and Thomas married in 1874, and after eleven years of living in and around London, settled in Dorset at Max Gate, Dorchester, for the rest of their lives. European holidays, visits to friends, and extensive entertaining at Max Gate, all added variety to their life there together.
Come and find out what Emma thought about her husband and others in her life, her thwarted ambition, independence of spirit, and the recollections of those who knew her.
Just before the talk on 6th June, between 6.00pm and 7.00pm, there will be the launch of a new book by JB Bullen: Thomas Hardy – The World of His Novels which explores the settings of Hardy’s novels and shows how he shaped them to serve the needs of his characters and plots.
Entry to the book launch and to the talk is free but a donation of £3 is encouraged to cover costs. Everyone is welcome and there is no need to book.
A second Hardy event, a reading of ‘Hardy’s Love Poems’ by Furse Swann and Sue Theobald takes place at 1.00pm on 13th June.
For further information contact the Museum on 01305 262735 or check the website on www.dorsetcountymuseum.org