Polish-born novelist Joseph Conrad (1857-1924) lived in Kent for 20 years after working at sea. Although English was Conrad’s third language, he is regarded as one of the greatest writers in English. His novels include ‘Lord Jim’, ‘Heart of Darkness’, ‘Nostromo’ and ‘The Secret Agent’.
Conrad spent his last years at Bishopsbourne, near Canterbury. His family donated to Canterbury Museums a range of furniture and personal items that had belonged to Conrad. These include photographs, pictures, signed first editions, and Conrad’s writing desk, typewriter, favourite pen, chess set and hatbox. A selection of items are arranged in a recreation of Conrad’s study at Canterbury Heritage Museum.
Visitors can listen to extracts about the items, in Stories from the Study, based on written memories from Conrad's two sons.
Also on display is a bronze bust of Conrad made by Sir Jacob Epstein in 1924, a few months before the writer died.
Joseph Conrad's chess set. © Canterbury Museums and Galleries collection.