AN EXHIBITION showcasing the work of a local cartoonist and illustrator is now on display at the Dorset County Museum.

Merrily Harpur's will be on show in the High West Street venue's tearoom until Saturday, April 1 and is free to view.

Merrily's work has appeared regularly in all the national broadsheet newspapers as well as in books by Kingsley Amis, Miles Kington, Gerald Durrell, John Michell and others.

She also found time to write the authoritative study of Britain’s mystery big cats – the panther and puma like creatures regularly spotted in our countryside, not least in Dorset.

However she has always been a secret painter of landscapes and upon moving to the county she says she fell hopelessly in love with its beauties and surprises – the unexpected changes of angle and perspective that west Dorset offers with each half mile travelled.

A museum spokesman said: "She paints en plein air or, more accurately, in situ – sitting in the car, enjoying the scent of turpentine and listening to the radio.

"If you spot a mossy, mud-bespattered car in an unlikely corner of a field or lane, this could be her – probably paint-bespattered – attempting to conjure up, in paint, the genius loci – the particular magic of our place.

"She now lives and paints in Cattistock, where in 2013 she inaugurated the Fox Festival, and wrote the libretto for Nick Morris’s acclaimed oratorio The Fox That Walked on Water."

Merrily’s work will be on sale during the exhibition.

The museum is open from 10am to 4pm from Monday to Saturday.

For more information about the exhibition contact the museum on 01305 262735 or visit