The mystical hare in the ancient Wiltshire landscape…a new treasure hunt book

Written by Sue Round on .

Joanna May with her book 'The Hare on the Moon' and her painting which is the prizeJoanna May with her book 'The Hare on the Moon' and her painting which is the prizeIn 1979, Kit Williams’ treasure hunt book, ‘Masquerade’ became a publishing sensation and the treasure hunt caught the imagination of the nation. Now, local artist, Joanna May, is publishing a new treasure hunt book. 

The book is based on the hare paintings Joanna has become famous for and an adventure story she has written which journeys through ancient Wiltshire landscapes.

Entitled ‘The Hare on the Moon’, the book requires readers to embark on a mystical journey through Wiltshire with the hare.  Together with the help of the man on the moon, readers unlock the star signs to find treasures which help to release the hare. 

Joanna explains, “The pages are interspersed with beautiful illustrations helping to guide you.  Your mission is to find the clues, identify the required words and find the map coordinates to locate the sacred site.”

“Only the author of this book and her husband know where the important site is, and they enticingly believe it is as likely to be solved by a bright teenager as an Oxford Don.”

The treasure to be won is a painting by Joanna of the celtic symbol of three interlinking hares.  The painting represents fertility and eternity and is connected to the lunar cycle.

Unlike the 1979 treasure hunt, the treasure is not buried. Instead contestants have to discover the map co-ordinates revealed in the clues in the book and fill in the competition entry form on Joanna’s website.

The competition will run for two years from mid- November 2019 to November 21, 2021.  That night, the night of a full moon, the winner will be announced.  The winner will be the first person during the two years to solve the puzzle. If the clues are not solved by then the competition will be extended.

Joanna has held a fascination for hares and has painted them for at least twenty years.  “It all started with the hare – what interests me is the mystical side to them, we don’t know much about them and their habits.  I painted the first one when I opened my gallery in Marlborough in 2001.”

It was at Joanna’s gallery, in Marlborough’s Hughenden Yard, that she was discovered by the BBC and was asked to participate in the first series of Spring Watch.  She devised a whole new series of zodiac hare paintings especially for the programme.

Joanna also participated in the 2017 Cotswold Hare Trail.  “A five-foot fibreglass hare arrived on my doorstep, a blank canvass to decorate however I liked…it was slightly daunting, but very exciting.  I decorated my hare with images from my upcoming book ‘The Hare in the Moon’.”

‘The Hare in the Moon’ will be published in November. Joanna says,  “I hope the book will become a family treasure, and it will make a very special gift.”

The book costs £80 for a limited and signed edition and £60 for an ordinary edition.  It can be pre-ordered, details on Joanna’s website – or by telephone 07813124120.