Literary Lives: Mr Hardy and Mrs Henniker – An Enduring Friendship in Letters by Helen Angear

Thomas Hardy LettersCome and join us on Thursday 27 July 2017 at 7.30pm, for an interesting talk by Helen Angear who has been working on the Thomas Hardy Correspondence Archive at Dorset County Museum. 

“It occurred to me the other day that this year completes the eighteenth of our friendship. That is rather good as between man and woman, which is usually so brittle” (Aug. 1911).  So wrote Hardy to Florence Henniker, an aristocratic lady and fellow writer he met in 1893. Hardy’s comment might make you think of the 1989 film ‘When Harry Met Sally’ and the unresolved question of whether men and women can ever be ‘just friends’.

In fact, Hardy and Henniker’s platonic friendship lasted almost thirty years and both sides of their correspondence exist within the archive to tell the story. Henniker’s gift of an inkstand, sent in the post in 1893, can also be seen in Hardy’s study upstairs in the Museum. This talk examines the important role that letters played in their enduring friendship. I seek to dispel the assumption that this is simply a story of unrequited love and reveal how their dialogue provides an understanding of intimate, but non-marital, social bonds between the sexes at the turn of the century.

A selection of the letters will also be on display.

Helen Angear

Helen Angear

Helen Angear is an AHRC Collaborative Doctoral Award student at the University of Exeter, in collaboration with Dorset County Museum.  She is working on the Hardy correspondence archive, and her PhD is called Thomas Hardy’s Correspondents: Proximity and Distance in Postal Communication’. Helen is also an Associate Lecturer at Exeter College.

The forthcoming lecture will take place on Thursday 27 July 2017 in the Dorset County Museum’s Victorian Hall and is FREE to the public; however a donation of £3 encouraged to cover costs. Doors open at 7.00pm and talks start at 7.30pm.

For further information contact the Museum on on 01305 756827 or check the website on www.dorsetcountymuseum.org or follow us on Facebook and Twitter

Exploring museums worldwide with #MuseumWeek 2017

#MuseumWeekDorset County Museum will join museums and galleries across the World on Twitter for #MuseumWeek, a project that will connect people to artwork, culture, history and science in new and interactive ways.

#MuseumWeek 2017 will take place from Monday 19th  – Sunday 25th June 2017 and will give Twitter users direct and unparalleled access to some of the international leading museums and the people behind them in 140-characters bursts.

Last year, audiences have been able to engage with a massive, wide and versatile cultural production: in one week, 664.000 tweets were seen more than 294 million times!

@DorsetMuseum

Follow us @DorsetMuseum

Dorset County Museum will join other UK organisations already signed up include the Science Museum (@sciencemuseum), the Natural History Museum (@NHM_London), the Victoria and Albert Museum (@V_and_A), the British Museum (@britishmuseum), and the Tate (@Tate).

Dorset County Museum will join other Museums across the world by including the hashtag #MuseumWeek in their Tweets for the week, meaning users can follow along on Twitter.

 

7 days, 7 themes, 7 hashtags!

In addition, every day there will be a different theme.

A tribute to women

#MuseumWeek

#MuseumWeek is committed to the cause of gender equality, so they have decided to dedicate 2017 to all women in the World. Thus, on top of the regular daily hashtags mentioned here below, we would really love to see some of your publications around the “Women and Culture” theme with #WomenMW, whenever you can during the week. Contents related to this theme will have more chances to be republished on our official channels!

#FoodMW – Monday 19 June

Who doesn’t love visiting Museum cafés? After a visit there’s nothing better than sitting back and taking it all in with a coffee, but what food related art or exhibits actually in the museum is there anything you particularly love? Or is that café chocolate cake just a work of art in itself! Share today with #FoodMW!

#SportsMW – Tuesday 20 June

Sometimes it feels like we have to be an Olympic hurdler just to get over the daily obstacles put in our way, but what about the sports related items in our collections? Do you have something iconic, important locally or just plain odd that relates to sports? Share today with #SportsMW

#MusicMW – Wednesday 21 June

Did you know 21st June is officially #MusicDay2017! What music or song reminds you of an item in your collection? Do you have items relating to a famous musician or instruments on show or in storage that could be revealed? Share with #MusicMW today!

 #StoriesMW – Thursday 22 June

Who doesn’t love a story? Share stories about your institution, collections, pieces of Art or any objects! Or do you have something related to fairy tales or a famous story that’s been told….or still to tell? Remember that visitors also have stories to share too, involve them as much as possible! Share with #StoriesMW

#BooksMW – Friday 23 June

“A room without books is like a body without a soul.” – What books do you have in your collection? Why are they important or interesting? What books have inspired items in your collection? Is there something once owned by an author? Do you have books in your Museum shop? What’s the best seller? #BooksMW! Pssst, don’t forget the Bookselfies and bookshelfies!

#TravelsMW – Saturday 24 June

Many museums and collections were formed as a result of travels, what items in your collection have arrived at the museum from someone travelling? What about how travelling has changed? From early sea vessels to the first bicycles, share these collections today with #TravelsMW

#HeritageMW – Sunday 25 June

Celebrating and preserving heritage is our work of every day. What do you do for helping your audience to increase access to and to sustain heritage collections? Do you also have valuable collections in storage or online? In all its forms, heritage crystallizes our past and stimulates creativity; they are linked to culture and environment of our families, communities and nations. That is why we should protect them and pass them to the future generations. Celebrate them today with #HeritageMW.

@PliosaurKevan

Follow our #MuseumMascot @PliosaurKevan

A full list of participating UK organisations can be viewed here museum-week.org

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Literary Lives – Hardy and the Poetry of Encounter by Phillip Mallett

Philip Mallett - Image- Mark North_DCM © 2017

Philip Mallett

Come and join us for an interesting talk by Phillip Mallett on Thomas Hardy’s poetry from 100 years ago.

In his Notebook, Hardy wrote that ‘Reality is one sure fact, and the mind of the artist another’. Poetry is made out of the encounter between the two. This lecture explores a range of such poetic encounters, from his collection Moments of Vision, published 100 years ago.

Phillip Mallett is Honorary Senior Lecturer in English at the University of St Andrews, and Honorary Researcher at Lancaster University.  He is a Vice-President of both the Hardy Society and the Thomas Hardy Association, and since 2008 editor of the Hardy Society’s journals. In addition to essays on writers from John Donne to Larkin and Heaney, his published work includes a biography of Rudyard Kipling, and editions of The Return of the Native and The Mayor of Casterbridge for Norton, of The Woodlanders for Wordsworth Classics, and of Under the Greenwood Tree for Oxford World’s Classics. He has also edited a number of collections of essays, most recently The Victorian Novel and Masculinity for Palgrave.  He is currently working on new editions of Tess for Norton, and of the Mayor for the forthcoming Cambridge edition of Hardy’s novels and stories.

The forthcoming lecture will take place on Thursday 25 May 2017 in the Dorset County Museum’s Victorian Hall and is FREE to the public; however a donation of £3 encouraged to cover costs. Doors open at 7.00pm and talks start at 7.30pm.

For further information contact the Museum on on 01305 756827 or check the website on www.dorsetcountymuseum.org or follow us on Facebook and Twitter

 

Praise O’Do’set: An exhibition of handpainted woodblock prints illustrating the poetry of William Barnes by Jennifer Martindale

The Fancy Feair at Maiden Newton © Jennifer Martindale 2017

The Fancy Feäir At Maïden Newton © Jennifer Martindale 2017

The Fancy Feäir At Maïden Newton
by William Barnes

The Frome, wi‘ ever-water’d brink,
Do run where shelvèn hills do zink
Wihousen all a-cluster’d roun
The parish tow’rs below the down.
An’ now, vor woonce, at leäst, ov all
The pleäcen where the stream do vall,
There’s woone that zome to-day mid vind,
Wi‘ things a-suited to their mind.
An’ that’s out where the Fancy Feäir
Is on at Maïden Newton.

An’ vo’k,a-smarten’d up, wull hop
Out here, as ev’ry traïn do stop,
Vrom up the line, a longish ride,
An’ down along the river-zide.
An’ zome do beät, wi‘ heels an’ tooes,
The leänes an’ paths, in nimble shoes,
An’ bring, bezides, a biggish knot,
Ov all their childern that can trot,
A-vlockèn where the Fancy Feäir
Is here at Maïden Newton.

If you should goo, to-day, avore
A Chilfrome house or Downfrome door,
Or Frampton’s park-zide row, or look
Drough quiet Wraxall’s slopy nook,
Or elbow-streeted Catt’stock, down
By Castlehill’s cwold-winded crown,
An’ zee if vo’k be all at hwome,
You’d vind em out–they be a-come
Out hither, where the Fancy Feäir
Is on at Maïden Newton.

Come,young men, come, an’ here you’ll vind
A gift to please a maïden’s mind;
Come, husbands, here be gifts to please
Your wives, an’ meäke em smile vor days;
Come, so’s, an’ buy at Fancy Feäir
A keepseäke vor your friends elsewhere;
You can’t but stop an’ spend a cwein
Wileädies that ha’ goods so fine;
An’ all to meake, vor childern’s seäke,
The School at Maïden Newton.

William Barnes was a much loved and respected teacher, clergyman, scholar of languages and poet. Most of his poems are written with a strong Dorset accent as he casts a kindly eye over the lives of the hardworking Dorset rural community.

With these rustic woodblocks, hand carved, handprinted and hand coloured images, Jennifer Martindale has tried to share the spirit of the poems.

The techniques used in this tea room exhibition at the Dorset County Museum, lend themselves to simple kitchen table production.

Jennifer explains “Making pictures uses the calm mindful part of myself, and I aim to share with viewers the immense happiness that planning and making the work creates. A childish glee of playing with colours has never quite left me.  Over the years I have worked in most media, and I still move between painting and printmaking. I have long had an interest in South East Asia and have been influenced by the use of space and the concept of capturing the fleeting moment. The handpainted relief block print techniques of this William Barnes series were carefully chosen to represent the rustic nature of the poems.”

Jennifer’s work will be on view from 4 April 2017 to the 10 June 2017 in the museum’s Tea Room, and it will be FREE to come and view.  Mounted, unframed versions of her work will be for sale during the exhibition.

Literary Lives: Thomas Hardy and the Victorian School Mistress by Dr Jonathan Godshaw Memel

Kate Hardy (front left) with other teachers © DCM

Kate Hardy (front left) with other teachers © DCM

‘… she had altogether the air of a woman clipped and pruned by severe discipline, an under-brightness shining through from the depths which that discipline had not yet been able to reach.’

(Thomas Hardy, Jude the Obscure)

This description of Sue Bridehead during her brief time at college suggests the restrictive character of nineteenth-century teacher training. The two-year programme at Salisbury enforced standards of ‘humble femininity’ while preparing women from various social backgrounds for a vocation in the elementary schools.

Hardy’s sisters, Mary and Katharine (generally known as Kate), attended college at Salisbury while his cousin, Tryphena Sparks, trained at Stockwell.  As schoolmistresses their profession enabled greater independence from the pressure to marry, but their personal freedom was severely restricted during the process of qualifying. Trainee teachers were required to carry out extensive chores and study for long hours and their food portions were meagre. They were also subject to continual surveillance, while their choice of dress was restricted.

In this talk Dr Memel will consider representations of the work and training of female teachers in Hardy’s fiction, showing how the experiences of his female relations inspired acts of solidarity and resistance in his writing.

The forthcoming lecture will take place on Thursday 2 March in the Dorset County Museum’s Victorian Hall and is FREE to the public; however a donation of £3 encouraged to cover costs. Doors open at 7.00pm and talks start at 7.30pm.

For further information contact the Museum on on 01305 756827 or check the website on www.dorsetcountymuseum.org or follow us on Facebook and Twitter

Next Literary Lives talks:

  • Thursday 25th May, Hardy and Poetry of Encounter by Philip Mallett
  • Thursday 27th July, Mr Hardy and Mrs Henniker – an Enduring Friendship by Helen Angear
  • Thursday 14th September, The Infants’ Grammar by Dr Alan Chedzoy
  • Thursday 26th October, Hardy and Sex Education by Dr Karin Koeler

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Carols, Songs and Dancing: The Musical Heritage of Thomas Hardy’s Family

Among the fine collection of Hardy items in the Dorset County Museum, one of the most interesting is the music-book which belonged to his father and grandfather.  This is a hand-written book of carols, hymns, ballads and songs which had been passed down orally and collected over the generations, and the pages sewn together in this simple homemade book.

Here are two carols from the family carol book used for ‘Going the Rounds’ at Christmas, when the Mellstock Quire visited the cottages around Bockhampton and Stinsford to sing carols to the locals. If you’re musical, you might have a go at playing them!

While Shepherds Watched Their Flocks By Night

While Shepherds Watched Their Flocks By Night

While Shepherds Watched Their Flocks By Night

Hark The Herald Angels Sing

hark-the-herald-angels-sing_1Hark The Herald Angels Sing

Thomas Hardy’s grandfather, father and other relatives played violins and cellos in the West Gallery church choirs at Stinsford and Puddletown until about 1835-40, when the church replaced the instrumentalists with barrel organs.

On Christmas Eve, the tradition was for these singers and players to walk through the dark night, lit only by lanterns, carrying their music and instruments, to sing and play carols at all the cottages and houses.

From these family musicians, the young Thomas inherited a love of music.  As a boy, he was taught to tune and play the fiddle by his father, with whom he played at parties and weddings.  He later drew on the family memories of the choir in Under the Greenwood Tree:

Chapter 4: GOING THE ROUNDS

Shortly after ten o’clock the singing-boys arrived at the tranter’s house, which was invariably the place of meeting, and preparations were made for the start. The older men and musicians wore thick coats, with stiff perpendicular collars, and coloured handkerchiefs wound round and round the neck till the end came to hand, which they just showed their ears and noses, like people looking over a wall. The remainder, stalwart ruddy men and boys, were dressed mainly in snow-white smock-frocks, embroidered upon the shoulders and breasts, in ornamental forms of hearts, diamonds, and zigzags. The cider-mug was emptied for the ninth time, the music-books were arranged, and the pieces finally decided upon. The boys in the meantime put the old horn-lanterns in order, cut candles into short lengths to fit the lanterns; and, a thin fleece of snow having fallen since the early part of the evening, those who had no leggings went to the stable and wound wisps of hay round their ankles to keep the insidious flakes from the interior of their boots.

……………….

 

Just before the clock struck twelve they lighted the lanterns and started. The moon, in her third quarter, had risen since the snowstorm; but the dense accumulation of snow-cloud weakened her power to a faint twilight, which was rather pervasive of the landscape than traceable to the sky. The breeze had gone down, and the rustle of their feet and tones of their speech echoed with an alert rebound from every post, boundary-stone, and ancient wall they passed, even where the distance of the echo’s origin was less than a few yards. Beyond their own slight noises nothing was to be heard, save the occasional bark of foxes in the direction of Yalbury Wood, or the brush of a rabbit among the grass now and then, as it scampered out of their way.”

Helen Gibson
Honorary Curator of the Thomas Hardy Archive and Collection

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Mammoth Book Sale at Dorset County Museum

Book Sale at Dorset County Museum

The Dorset County Museum’s popular annual sale of second-hand books will be taking place on 11, 12 and 14 November 2015 between 10am to 4pm.

Thousands of quality books will be sold at bargain prices – fact, fiction, hardback and softback. Hundreds of subjects and genres will be represented including Dorset, travel, history, music, art and gardening.  A wide selection of fiction will also be available including hard and soft backs. A few minutes’ careful searching could reveal untold treasures!

In addition, there will be a sale of Dorset Natural History and Archaeological Society publications at knock-down prices – available only to buyers who visit the sale in person.

All proceeds go towards the upkeep of the Museum and its extensive collections.

Dorset County Museum Book Sale 2012Donations of good quality second hand books will be gratefully received up to and including Friday 11 November.

The Museum’s well-stocked gift shop is also worth a visit with Christmas lines now available, and the popular tea room awaits weary bargain hunters.

Everyone is welcome and entry to the sale is FREE – it would help the Museum if visitors could bring their own bags as supplies of plastic bags will be limited. Please note the Museum will NOT be open on Sunday 13 November.

For further information contact the Museum on on 01305 756827 or check the website on www.dorsetcountymuseum.org or follow us on Facebook and Twitter

Literary Lives: The Influence of Hardy on the Cornish poet Jack Clemo by Dr. Luke Thompson

Jack Clemo

Jack Clemo. Heather Spears/ Luke Thompson © 2016

Jack Clemo (1916-94) was one of the most unusual poets of the twentieth century, a deaf-blind, syphilitic, self-proclaimed sex mystic who placed his God within the scarred landscape of the china clay mining country in Cornwall. 

But Clemo began his writing life as a novelist, intending his work to be ‘the Christian counterpart’ of Thomas Hardy’s.  Hardy’s influence on Clemo’s debut novel, Wilding Graft, is unmistakable, and it is an influence to which Clemo would return throughout his writing.

On Thursday 3rd November 2016 at 7.30pm (The Museum doors open at 7.00pm).         Dr Luke Thompson will explore Thomas Hardy’s role in Clemo’s life and work, in the poetic and novelistic influences, and in the role of fate and faith, reading from poems such as ‘Wessex and Lyonesse’ ‘Tryphena’ and ‘Max Gate’

Dr Luke Thompson is a writer, editor and academic from Cornwall, who has written the first full-length biography of the poet Jack Clemo, entitled Clay Phoenix (Ally Press, 2016).

The talk is FREE although a donation of £3 is encouraged to cover costs.

For further information contact the Museum on on 01305 756827 or check the website on www.dorsetcountymuseum.org or follow us on Facebook and Twitter

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Museum Makers: A Few Crusted Characters

Just before the summer break the Museum Makers moved forward in time to the early nineteenth century, and looked at horse-drawn transport, as a precursor to our forthcoming work on the railways. We used the concept and structure of Thomas Hardys

A Few Crusted Characters, which tells the story of a group of homeward- bound travellers in a carriers cart who are joined on the journey by a stranger. The interwoven tales that the locals tell to the newcomer make up the scenes in the play.

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Heritage-Lottery-Fund

Literary Lives: Thomas Hardy and Folk Song by Dr. Peter Robson

Musicians of Mellstock Choir - Hardy Players 1910 DCM © 2015

Musicians of Mellstock Choir – Hardy Players 1910 DCM © 2015

Thomas Hardy refers to more than thirty folk songs in his novels, with many further references in his poetry, short stories, letters etc. 

Some knowledge of the folk songs in Hardy’s writings helps the reader to appreciate how appropriate they are to the author’s plotting, characterisation and settings. The songs can also occasionally throw light on Hardy’s own background.

This exploration of Hardy and Dorset song will begin by looking at the nature of folksong and at the golden age of folksong collecting, with particular reference to the work of the Hammond brothers in Dorset. Dr. Robson will then illustrate the variety of places where references to folksongs may be found in Hardy’s published and unpublished writings.

From this body of material it is then possible to suggest where and how Hardy might have obtained the songs which he knew and to look at some examples of the ways in which he used folk songs in his novels. Finally, the speaker will identify the songs which seem to have been Hardy’s personal favourites, and at a song which was actually collected from him.

Dr. Peter Robson has been researching Dorset folklore and folksong for many years and has written and spoken widely on this subject. Most recently he has become particularly interested in Thomas Hardy’s writings as an almost untapped source for the study of rural folklore.

The lecture will take place on Thursday 30 June in the Dorset County Museum’s Victorian Hall and is FREE to the public; however a donation of £3 encouraged to cover costs. Doors open at 7.00pm for a 7.30pm start.

For further information contact the Museum on on 01305 756827 or check the website on www.dorsetcountymuseum.org or follow us on Facebook and Twitter