Thomas Hardy and Clothing

The Thomas Hardy and Clothing project is a student-led collaboration between the University of Exeter and Dorset County Museum which aims to create a digital research database of references to fashion in Hardy's writing and biography.

The poet and novelist Thomas Hardy (1840-1928) is a figure of major importance to British literary heritage and the wider cultural industries, with significant and growing international appeal, including in Asia and North America. The database will highlight the importance of fashion in Hardy’s writing, providing references to the fiction, poetry and other writing, and offering annotations on historical, social and political context. It will be a rich educational resource on nineteenth-century clothing for BA, MA and PhD students at Exeter as well as for members of the public.

Dress is crucial in Hardy's fiction, not only for bringing colour to local scenes, but also for challenging traditional class and gender associations.

The project will raise awareness of significant archive and costume collections in the South West, helping to interpret this heritage for the future. The project builds upon extensive research by Exeter students, who were instrumental in collating the references to clothing, later adding themes to the database.

The project team at Exeter is led by Professor Angelique Richardson and PhD student Jonathan Memel.

For more information about the project, and to browse the database, visit the Thomas Hardy and Clothing website.

Image: The image that appears on this page is George du Maurier's illustration for The Hand of Ethelberta, scanned and made available by Philip V. Allingham on The Victorian Web. This image may be used without prior permission for any scholarly or educational purpose.