The Author - Richard Jefferies
Richard Jefferies (christened John Richard Jefferies) was a Victorian nature writer with a passion for the English countryside and the richness that he saw all around him. He was born at the house which is now the museum, in Coate, Swindon, on the 6th November 1848, and died at the tragically early age of 38 on 14th August 1887. Noted for his depiction of English rural life in essays, books of natural history, and novels, his childhood at Coate had a great influence on him and provides the background to all his major works of fiction.

Jefferies's writings includes a diversity of genres and topics, including Bevis (1882), a classic children's book, and After London (1885), an early work of science fiction. For much of his adult life, he suffered from tuberculosis, and his struggles with the illness and with poverty also play a role in his writing. Jefferies valued and cultivated an intensity of feeling in his experience of the world around him, a cultivation that he describes in detail in The Story of My Heart(1883). This work, an introspective depiction of his thoughts and feelings on the world, gained him the reputation of a nature mystic at the time. But it is his success in conveying his awareness of nature and people within it, both in his fiction and in essay collections such as The Amateur Poacher (1879) and Round About a Great Estate (1880), that has drawn most admirers. Read more on Wikipedia.

There was in it an alchemic power analysis cannot define
This line, from Amaryllis at the Fair, describes Goliath Ale, the beer brewed on the old farm, but it also captures some of the essence of Jefferies' writing - the diversity of genres and topics he covered, and the unique insight he gives us on it all. 

This image is of an elaborate clock that hangs above the fireplace in the museum. It was designed to try to convey the breadth and variety of Jefferies' passions, illustrating all the different aspects of nature that enthralled him, as well as his constant focus on the 'human condition' - nature, and the importance of our relationship with it. 
​​​The first and truest nature conservationist
"Great Nature writers are voices from the past, pointing towards the future. They speak to us, always, from now. Perhaps they are set up to do this by Nature herself, having become her mouthpieces. Richard Jefferies, however, went further: he allowed Nature to absorb him, so that he became part of her. It is hardly surprising that his writings inspired our greatest Nature poet, Edward Thomas. Now, as our severance from Nature widens, so Jefferies’s messages increase in importance. The prospect of Sir David Attenborough, one of his successors, lying forgotten a century from now beggars belief – yet that is precisely what has happened to Jefferies, the most deeply spiritual of our Nature writers and the first and truest nature conservationist. His message is simple: in Nature we truly belong."

Matthew Oates National Trust/BBC Radio 4  
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