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Dorchester, John Pouncy, 1857

Dorchester appears in Hardy’s novels as Casterbridge, the nearest market town to the village where Tess lives. It’s here the villagers take their produce for sale:

“...two in the morning was the latest hour for starting with the beehives if they were to be delivered to the retailers in Casterbridge before the Saturday market began, the way thither lying by bad roads over a distance of between twenty and thirty miles, and the horse and wagon being of the slowest.”

This view of Dorchester comes from John Pouncy’s ‘Dorsetshire Photographically Illustrated’, published in 1857. Pouncy was a pioneer in the development of photographic printing. His two-volume work was the first in Britain to be illustrated by photolithography. The technique was still a little uncertain when this view was produced. Heavy retouching and the addition of rather clumsily hand-drawn figures give the scene a curious effect.

Pouncy was acquainted with Thomas Hardy. The original photographs for his ‘Dorsetshire’ were selected from several hundreds of glass slides made by Pouncy to illustrate his ‘magic lantern’ lectures on Hardy’s works.

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