An Online Talk with Rose Wallis, Edwina Grosvenor and Angelique Richardson

The Real Woman Behind Tess of the d’Urbervilles

An Online Talk with Rose Wallis, Edwina Grosvenor and Angelique Richardson

£5 per screen

7pm, Thursday 13 October 2022 Online event

Tickets available through Wessex Museums

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Tess of the d'Urbervilles by Hubert Herkomer

Gill Donell MBE will be joined by panellists Professor Angelique Richardson, Lady Edwina Grosvenor and Dr Rose Wallis to discuss Thomas Hardy’s character of Tess Durbeyfield, and the real woman who influenced the famous story.

In 1856, Thomas Hardy witnessed the hanging body of Martha Brown, the last woman to be publicly hanged in Dorchester. Brown had been hanged for the murder of her husband. The injustice of her sentence would haunt Hardy for the rest of his life, and his later novel in some ways vindicated Brown.

The panellists will explore the influence of Brown on Hardy, as well as the reception of Tess of the d’Urbervilles (1891) at the time and what this story has to say in our own age.


Lady Edwina Grosvenor is a criminologist and prison philanthropist who has dedicated her career to transforming conditions within prisons, drawing on the experience of best and worst models of criminal justice from around the world. This inspired her to be the founding investor and Ambassador of the Clink Restaurant chain, which trains prisoners for work in the catering industry, and to founding and chairing the charity One Small Thing. The charity aims to redesign the justice system for women and their children and has gone on to develop Hope Street, a pioneering purpose-built residential community across Hampshire and which will provide rehabilitative services to the women in a holistic environment where they can recover without the need for their children to be removed into care. Having studied Criminology and Sociology at Northumbria University, Lady Edwina achieved a distinction in her master’s degree in Criminology and Crime Scene Management at Solent University in August 2021. She sits on the advisory board to the Centre for Criminology in the Faculty of Law at the University of Oxford. She became a founding member of the Global Philanthropic Advisory Board in January 2022 and is also Patron of Paladin, which is the country’s only national stalking advocacy service. Edwina is the 2022/23 High Sherriff of Hampshire.

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Gill Donnell MBE is an experienced leader, motivational speaker and personal development mentor, who has spent much of her working life promoting the role of women in the workplace and supporting individuals to achieve their full potential. Having spent time as a successful female role model in a male-dominated organisation, a police Chief Superintendent, whilst being a single mum of twins, Gill is uniquely placed to understand the challenges faced by women in the workplace. On retirement from the Police Service, Gill set up her company ‘Successful Women’, which specialised in women’s development through single gender training, business networking and one-to-one coaching. Her book Celebr8® Success offers a structured, easy to follow framework to help working women, especially mums, unlock their true potential. 

In 2009, Gill's work on women's development was recognised by Her Majesty the Queen with the award of an MBE. In 2015 she won the Dorset Venus Award for most Influential Woman. In 2016 she launched the Successful Women Podcast Show, where she interviews successful women from around the world about the challenges they have overcome and the opportunities they have taken.

From 2018 - 2020 she ran the ‘Successful Women in Business Network’, a membership organisation for women, through which she launched the ‘Successful Women Awards’. Gill is now enjoying her leisure time and can be found most days on a golf course somewhere!


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