Secrets of the National Trust

Discovery of an original Thomas Hardy mirror

We recently removed the contemporary wallpaper from the upstairs bathroom; it had been put up by the tenants a few years ago and we want to bring the house back more to how Thomas Hardy had it decorated. The bathroom had been installed by Thomas Hardy's second wife Florence in an attempt to modernise the house following their marriage in February 1914.

Removing the wallpaper revealed the mysterious outlines of what seemed to be two identical mirrors facing each other across the room. Whether they were used to bring more light in to the room or to allow her to see herself from a different angle we are not sure. We were delighted to discover, however, that the mirror over the sink in the downstairs bathroom, which is the one visitors use, is an exact match for the shape of the mysterious shadow. Clearly it had been moved down there at some point in the past.

We are planning to redecorate the upstairs bathroom once paint analysis and further research has been done into the decoration of the time.

If you would like to see yourself reflected in Thomas Hardy’s own mirror, just come and visit Max Gate.