Thomas Hardy noted regretfully: “Few literary critics discern the solidarity of all the arts” (Florence Hardy 300). An architect self-educated in art history by visits to London museums, an avid reader of John Ruskin, keenly alive to music and responsive to the ornamental sculpture and painting of Gothic buildings, Hardy believed in a composite muse. After ceasing to write novels, in which he had included numerous painterly allusions and references to specific art works, he overtly probed the image/text relation in his 1898 debut volume of poetry: Wessex Poems and Other Verses, by Thomas Hardy, with 30 Illustrations by the Author. Although a reading experience dependent upon the original aesthetic interplay that Hardy had designed was destroyed in most subsequent printings, the first edition's partnership of image and text remains absolutely central to the book's multiple meanings. Indeed, Hardy's images and words should be regarded as inseparable, since they interact in what W. J. T. Mitchell has called a “composite art form” (83, 89).