'Mr. Thomas Hardy', 1894.
© NMeM / Kodak Collection / Science & Society
A photographic portrait of Thomas Hardy (1840-1928), taken by W & D Downey. Thomas Hardy's career spanned over 50 years. A famous English writer and poet, he set his novels against the bleak imaginary landscape of Wesex, modelled on the Dorset countryside of his birth. Hardy's first book to be noticed was 'Far From The Madding Crowd' (1874). After its succes he devoted himself to writing, producing a series of novels, among them 'Tes Of The D'Urbervilles' (1891) and 'Jude the Obscure' (1896). The latter caused a storm of controversy as it was seen as an attack on the institution of marriage. Following this episode, Hardy turned away from writing fiction and, for the rest of his life, focused on poetry, producing several collections. This photograph appears in 'The Cabinet Portrait Gallery' series of celebrity portraits and biographies published in the 1890s. The series includes royalty, actors, academics and authors.