Hardy’s Wessex: Drawing on the ancient past

17 June - 11 July 2022, 10:00am - 1:00pm

A six-week creative course with Helen Garrett

This six-week course led by artist Helen Garrett will take you on a creative journey through Thomas Hardy’s work, inspirations and Dorset Museum’s collections.

Tickets: £140 for 6 weeks, includes tea and coffee and an opportunity to look around the Museum before or after the course sessions. Places are limited.


  • Week 1: 17 June – Material Earth – Geology
    Exploring the unique qualities of rocks and fossils from both the artists and the museum’s collection using raw pigments, chalk and pastel techniques with handmade and cotton papers – with a reference to Hardy’s A Pair of Blue Eyes description of a character meeting face to face a fossilized creature.
  • Week 2: 24 June – The Nature of Trees – with excerpts from The Woodlanders and other writings
    A dynamic session with observational studies from branches, bark and leaves, experimental drawing techniques, working with texture, surface pattern, frottage, subtractive techniques, Graphite blocks and pencil.
  • Week 3: 1 July – The Poetic Imagination – A Journey Through Natural Form
    Using the natural form as our starting place and inspiration we will work in an intuitive way allowing our writing to emerge naturally from our sense of connection with the material and the power of the imagination. Materials will include goose feather quills, Chinese ink for writing and illustrations.
  • Week 4: 8 July – Romantic Landscapes in Art
    Hardy’s descriptions have inspired artists to convey scenes from his stories. We will look at those displayed in the Hardy’s Dorset Gallery and touch on the Romantic Art movement creating atmospheric landscapes. We will draw and paint onto colour grounds using sepia inks, red Conte crayons and pencil.
  • Week 5: 15 July – Drama and The Elements in Hardy’s Writing
    Using a wonderfully exciting ink and bleach technique and inspired by the drama of Hardy’s writing, we will play with scale, contrast, tempest and power in our ink paintings. We will draw imagery from Tess of the d’Urbervilles, The Return of the Native and some of Hardy’s best-loved poetry.
  • Week 6: 22 July – Exploring the Hardy Exhibition
    Our last week will offer the opportunity to spend some quality reflective time in the Hardy’s Wessex exhibition; sketching from his personal possessions and other artefacts in the Dorset Museum collection. Using sepia/coloured pencils and our sketchbooks, developing a further study – group reflection time/feedback.

Important Announcement

The lift in the Museum is currently out of action.
We hope to resolve this very soon and apologies for the inconvenience.

  • Opening hours:

    Dorset Museum & Art Gallery
    Daily: 10.00am - 5.00pm

    TASTE Café
    Daily: 9.00am - 4.00pm
    Sunday: 10:00am - 4:00pm

  • Dorset Museum

    High West Street
    Dorchester DT1 1XA

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