Dorset-born singer-songwriter, musician and poet PJ Harvey has gifted the publication of her Dorset dialect narrative poem Orlam to the Dorset museum during a recent visit.

Accompanied by her mother Eva, Harvey spent an afternoon at the Museum, starting in the Museum’s Library, and presented Interim Director Elizabeth Selby with a hand-corrected proof of the book and a signed photograph of the singer wearing traditional Dorset buttons.

Harvey drew upon the work of 19th century Dorset dialect poet and co-founder of Dorset Museum, William Barnes, to write Orlam. The Museum said it hopes to display the items gifted by Harvey in the near future.

A number of items from the Museum’s William Barnes collection were shown to Harvey, including manuscript poems, early editions of published works, and a replica of a humstrum, a traditional instrument described by Barnes in his poem The Humstrum.

Harvey released her first album Dry with her band PJ Harvey in 1992. She is the only musician to have been awarded the Mercury Music Prize twice, in 2001 and 2011. In 2013, she was awarded an MBE for services to music.

Elizabeth Selby, Interim Director of Dorset Museum, said: “We are thrilled and honoured that PJ Harvey has chosen to gift the Museum these wonderful items ahead of the publication of Orlam.

“She follows in a long tradition of writers including William Barnes, Thomas Hardy and Sylvia Townsend Warner whose work is shaped by Dorset, and who are represented in the Museum’s collections. It is only fitting that these items should be deposited here.”

Art Fund – News
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