The book features over 100 poems by Thomas Hardy, selected by Macfarlane – a nature writer who’s covered everything from the lure of the mountains to the secret, underground places of the world. He describes Hardy’s poetry as “a bitter, beautiful draught to drink at any time”.
To accompany the poems, Donwood created more than 30 illustrations – inspired by trips to Dorset, to uncover the sites of Hardy’s poetry. The artist created his work on spare bits of paper, torn from notepads, magazines or scribbled on the backs of old envelopes.
The “slantwise and surprising” illustrations – as Macfarlane refers to them – blend together pencil scribblings and patches of colour to create eerie and vaguely unsettling landscapes and scenes. Flocks of birds punctuate the imagery, appearing on the cloth-bound cover as well as swooping across the pages inside.
Donwood’s artworks are also on display at London’s Jealous Gallery, which is hosting an exhibition of his images, The Uncanny Scenery of a Dream, until 20 June.
Thomas Hardy: Selected Poems is published by The Folio Society as a limited edition, signed by Macfarlane and Donwood, priced £295; foliosociety.com