Opening hours: Tuesday-Sunday 10.30AM to 5PM & Bank Holidays

Exhibition: The Nature of Friendship

The Nature of Friendship will explore the link between Edward Lear and Selborne.

The nonsense writer Edward Lear was close friends to Professor Thomas Bell who lived in the house after Gilbert White’s death. Bell was a zoologist and edited his own version of the Natural History of Selborne. Lear illustrated Bell’s A History of British Quadripeds. Lear visited Bell in Selborne and was fascinated by the old fashioned superstitions still held by it’s residents.

The exhibition is a celebration of the natural world that so inspired Lear, Bell and Gilbert White. It will explore Lear’s links with Selborne, and his relationship with the natural world through his work.

The exhibition is being curated with the help of the museum by Dr Sara Lodge of St. Andrews University. Dr Lodge has recently published a book on Lear entitled Inventing Edward Lear which will be available from our shop during the exhibition which will run from May until the end of August. The exhibition will be based in the Discovery Room and Long Corridor, as well as linking in Bells Library, which is of course named after Professor Bell. There will also be a set of Edward Lear events and activities running throughout the exhibition so keep your eyes open for more information coming soon.

  • Start Date: 07 May 19
  • End Date: 31 Aug 19
  • Please note: tickets purchased from us are non refundable.

Gilbert Whites House

Gilbert White was aged 7 or 8 when the White family moved from the Vicarage on Selborne’s Plestor, to this house, called ‘The Wakes’ (named after the Wake family who had lived here previously). At that time the property would have been no more than a ‘two up, two down’  but over the subsequent years lots of extensions and additions have been made, creating the long sizeable house you see today.

The rooms have been restored following descriptions in White’s own correspondence and include a chair he used at Oriel College, Oxford (loaned from the College), items of contemporary furniture, family portraits and bed hangings embroidered for him by his aunts.

On display is the original manuscript of his book, The Natural History and Antiquities of Selborne, which was purchased with generous help from English Heritage and others.

Learn more