Architectural designs by author Thomas Hardy discovered

Evidence of architectural work by renowned 19th century author Thomas Hardy has emerged in the UK .

An altarpiece believed to have been designed by the novelist has been discovered in a church in Windsor.

Two parishioners of All Saints’ Church detected this large marble reredos, which had been concealed behind oak paneling during the 1920s, recognising that the design corresponds to a plan (pictured) by Hardy that hangs in the church, but was thought never to have been executed.

Hardy’s life included several years working in the architectural practice of the London-based Arthur Blomfield, the firm that built All Saints, Windsor from 1862–64. Prior to that, in 1856 Hardy had been apprenticed to the Dorchester architect, John Hicks, for whom his father had worked as a master-mason

After the writer’s return to Dorset in 1867, he took on further work for Hicks, as well as occasional jobs for G.R. Crickmay, Raphael Brandon, and T. Roger Smith, as well as Blomfield, coordinating architectural draughtsmanship around his early efforts in fiction.

Few buildings bear direct attribution to Hardy, since he never progressed beyond junior roles in architectural offices.