Having Tea at Max Gate, Thomas Hardy Style

Welcome to the 566th Tablescape Thursday!

This past Saturday we visited Max Gate, the home Thomas Hardy built after he became a successful writer.

Max Gate, Home of Thomas Hardy in Dorchester


I hope to share additional photos of the home in the future, but for this week’s Tablescape Thursday, we’re going inside the dining room.

Max Gate


I always appreciate the beautiful homes I visit during my travels, but sometimes I think I appreciate them even more once I’m back home and have time to really study the photos I’ve snapped during my visit.

Thomas Hardy's Max Gate, Dorchester


The table was set for tea this day, much as it may have been during the time Hardy was living here.

Thomas Hardy's Max Gate, Dorchester 8


I was super tempted to turn over the plate to see the maker of this beautiful pattern.

Thomas Hardy's Max Gate, Dorchester, Place Setting in Dining Room


Do you recognize the pattern? So pretty and delicate!

Floral Plate for Tea, Thomas Hardy's Home, Max Gate


I love the built-in bookshelves and the fireplace in this beautiful dining room. I’ve always dreamed of having a dining room with a cozy fireplace and built-in bookshelves. I so love the idea of dining to the sound of a crackling fire, surrounded by wonderful books!

Thomas Hardy's Max Gate, Dining Room


The other side of the dining room…

Thomas Hardy's Max Gate Home, Dining Room


Beautiful sideboard/buffet!

Thomas Hardy's Max Gate, Sideboard, Buffet in Dining Room


Lovely pieces on the sideboard…

Thomas Hardy's Max Gate


Tucked in one corner I spotted a lovely secretary. I noticed they are using the shelves inside the secretary for china/crystal/stemware storage. I think I’d prefer to see it filled with wonderful, old books.

Thomas Hardy's Max Gate, Dorchester, English Secretary


Before I end this post, I thought I’d share the breakfast I’ve been opting for most mornings while traveling through England. This is what’s normally referred to on the menu as a “Full English Breakfast.” I’ve so enjoyed these hearty breakfasts! I will miss them once I return home.

English Breakfast


Speaking of returning home, I have to be downstairs in the lobby of our hotel by 6:00 AM tomorrow to head for the airport, so I’m publishing this post a bit early since time will be short in the morning.

I spent today visiting the Natural History Museum and the Victoria and Albert Museum where I was thrilled to see the Christian Dior: Designer of Dreams exhibition was still in full swing. The exhibit had been scheduled to end a few days ago prior to my arrival in London, so I was so excited to find it had been extended. Looking forward to sharing the photos I took during my visit.

This was one of the gowns I saw on display today, Princess Margaret’s stunning birthday gown. It’s truly a wonderful exhibition and if you find yourself in London, I encourage you to stop in to see it. It’s purported to be the largest exhibition ever of the beautiful designs/fashions of designer, Christian Dior.


This evening, I’m off to the theater to see the play, The Mousetrap. Have you ever seen it? The Mousetrap is a murder mystery play by Agatha Christie and it first opened in London’s West End in 1952. Per Wikipedia, it has been running continuously since then and is the longest-running West End show in history. It also has the distinction of being the longest initial run of any play in history with its 25,000th performance taking place on November 18, 2012! Wow!

The play supposedly has a surprise or twist ending so the audience has been traditionally asked to not reveal the ending to anyone after leaving the theatre. Too funny! Can’t wait to see it this evening!

The Mousetrap by Agatha Christie


I have so many wonderful photos and experiences to share with you from this trip! Looking forward to writing those posts once I’m back home!

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  1. Glad you’re having so much fun. 😀 What a cozy dining room at Thomas Hardy’s Max Gate. There can never be too many fireplaces or bookshelves in a home to suit me. That dress on Princess Margaret – it has to be said – it’s fabulous. Can’t wait to see more photos when you get home. Stay safe!

  2. Love that dining room color! Lol, I can just see you sneaking a peek of the underside of china.
    Safe travels, looking forward to reading more!

  3. Linda Nixon says

    Maybe you could send a picture of the plate to Replacements and they possibly could identify it.

  4. Loved The Mousetrap as well as The Woman in Black. Where are the baked beans in that Full English?

  5. Hi Susan,
    both Mary and I enjoyed seeing you and meeting some of your friends at the Globe.
    I’m sure you will have had another fab night out at the theatre, after what looked like a hectic day.
    I hope you have a safe trip home and you get to come back to visit again.
    Take care,

  6. Thank you for sharing your trip. It has been fun to follow you and see all your interesting posts and pictures. I would love to go see the Mousetrap play with you. Agatha Christie is my favorite author. I have all her books and I’ve read them multiple times. Enjoy the last few hours of your trip. Too bad the time always seems to speed up during vacations.

  7. I have seen The Mousetrap! I love love love Agatha Christie. I so wish I were there seeing it too!

  8. I don’t recognize that china but it is lovely! I like the fireplace and bookshelves, too. And Princess Margaret’s beautiful dress! Enjoy the play and travel home safely.

  9. Carillon says

    London is my favorite city. We always go to at least one play while we are there. I did see the Mousetrap and I understand they have different endings, which is clever.

  10. What a lovely post! The old homes knew the art of dining and built houses according to it. Now, we have great rooms and TVs and seating at a kitchen island. Something has been lost! Princess Margaret’s dress is exactly what you would expect a princess to wear. Oh, my! Just gorgeous! I’ve enjoyed your blog posts and Instagram photos so much, Susan.

    • That should have read the old home builders above, but I imagine you can figure that out. =) BTW, I may be most envious of you for seeing The Mousetrap! I’m a huge Agatha Christie fan and have read all her works. This play was based on a short story called The Three Blind Mice. I can’t wait to hear what you think of the play!

  11. Wow Susan,
    Princess Margaret was a beautiful lady, wasn’t she? And that amazing dress was just her birthday gown?! Really? Wow, now I wonder what her wedding dress looked like! 🙂 Susan, several years ago, when I visited England for the first time, I wanted to adapt myself to their local habits and traditions, so I ordered a “Traditional Full English Breakfast”… my bad I had no idea they took the word “Full” literally: there was sooo much food on my plate, I could have eaten for two days! lol I remember there were baked beans and mushrooms included, but no potatoes… Okay, I ate everything 🙂 because it was yummy and … hey, I was on vacation, after all … and I was sooo happy to be in my beloved England, but boy, usually I only drink an espresso in the morning and call it my (Italian) breakfast! lol
    Safe travels back home, Susan!

  12. So thoroughly enjoy your “posts!” Next best thing to being there. Tally ho!! franki

  13. Lovely post, and that is a gorgeous pattern on those dishes, the delicate ivy—so pretty! Enjoyed all of your post, and the breakfast is certainly one you can go all day on…lol. Again, Fun post!

  14. Linda Page says

    The china is beautiful. Love the dining area. I have seen The Mousetrap and it is great! Enjoy!

  15. I had the pleasure of seeing The Mousetrap in 1982 at the age of 19! I was on a student tour called London at Yuletide- so much fun! I can’t give away the ending because I can’t remember it, but I do remember being delightfully surprised! Glad you’re having such a good time, Susan!

  16. Cyndi Raines says

    Beautiful home, lovely china, gorgeous dress, what a trip! Safe travels home and eager to see more pictures.

  17. Susan, I love to hear about your travels. Visiting Hardy’s home sounds like one of the highlights to me, the other seeing the play. Did they make a movie out of this play, staring, Michael Cain, Diane Cannon, and Christopher Reeves? It was set in an old windmill/home.
    Well, safe travels!

  18. Gosh, time for you to head home already! I must share that when I and two friends visited London a few years ago we also went to the Albert & Victoria Museum. The featured exhibit at that time were the designs of Alexander McQueen. Are you familiar with his work? It was a very interesting exhibit but I must admit I would have much preferred to see the beautiful clothes created by Christian Dior. That birthday gown of Princess Margret’s is beautiful. I hope you took more pictures of the exhibit.

    • I’m not that familiar with his designs, though I know the name. I did take a lot of photos. I’ll create a post to share those soon. Winging my way back home as I type this. 🙂

  19. Christine says

    We never had potatoes with our breakfasts. Visiting Agatha Christies summer home in Dartmouth we were told her Nephew receives the royalties from the mousetrap as his inheritance! Enjoy the Mousetrap we did!

  20. Thanks for the wonderful look at Hardy’s dining room. I agree that something has certainly been lost with the demise of dining rooms! Enjoy every bit of your remaining vacation days.

  21. Thank You for this beautiful tour of Thomas Hardy’s home. The rooms and everything in them are exquisite. That birthday portrait of Princess Margaret is gorgeous. She is one of my favorite Royals.

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