An artist inspired by renowned fossil hunter and palaeontologist Mary Anning spent more than 1,000 painstaking hours crafting a replica of her home. 

Richard Dollery has been visiting Lyme Regis since 1994 and developed a love of fossil hunting after learning about Mary Anning as a child. 

He wanted to ‘repay’ the scientist, whose discoveries were some of the most significant geological finds of all time, and so he used his artistic talent to create a model of her home which he then gifted to Lyme Regis Museum.

Richard said: “I have always been interested in fossils and I have known about, and been interested in, Mary Anning for a long time. We watched a documentary about her at primary school - a woman who went fossilling for a living – and I remember it vividly and it has stuck with me. 

“In 2014 I was staying at a cottage close to Lyme Regis Museum and I realised not much is known about her house, other than a sketch in the museum. I got in touch with the museum’s director, David Tucker, and offered to make the model for the museum free of charge.”

Richard, who has rheumatoid arthritis, spent more than 1,000 hours creating the model by hand, using the sketch in the museum as guidance.

He says the project was a labour of love. 

Bridport and Lyme Regis News:

LABOUR OF LOVE: Richard's model of Mary Anning's home

“It took more than 1,000 hours but I thoroughly enjoyed it,” he said.

“Each piece is handmade and there was no easy way of doing any of it. 

“I wanted every detail to look right – from the rust on the railings to the window frames - otherwise there was no point.

“I have arthritis but I wouldn’t let it stop me. A lot of pain went in to building the model but I was determined. I’ve had so much enjoyment from visiting Lyme Regis and fossilling, and I would never have had that had I not learnt about Mary Anning. 

“I wanted to repay her. She has long been forgotten and her work unrecognised because she was a woman and that is unfair. 

“She deserves her time and that’s why I wanted to do this for the museum.”

Bridget Houseago, operations manager at Lyme Regis, said: “We have a large focus on Mary Anning at the 
museum, and of course the museum is built on the site of her home.

“Our director knew of Richard, and his work, and so when he was contacted by him he said what a great idea it 
was and that we would support it.”