I've dreamt in my life dreams that have stayed with me ever after, and changed my ideas: they've gone through and through me, like wine through water, and altered the color of my mind.
Emily Bronte
Wuthering Heights

donderdag 13 augustus 2009

A new Brontë portrait?

James Gorin von Grozny, from Devon, paid £150 for the work which he believes was painted by Sir Edwin Landseer in 1838.
But art experts say Landseer would have had no call to paint the sisters who were not famous at that date.
The only known portrait of the sisters was painted by their brother, Branwell.
In the painting, the figure believed to be Emily Bronte holds a pen and notebook, whilst Charlotte stands and Anne looks away to one side.
Mr Gorin von Gronzy had originally bought a different picture of three sisters from an auction house, but when he went to collect it, it had disappeared.
He said the auction house offered him a refund, or the picture he now believes is of the Bronte sisters.
Professor Francis O' Gorman, of the University of Leeds, an expert in Victorian Literature, said he was doubtful that the painting depicted the Bronte sisters.
"The Brontes were unheard of outside their family circle in 1838.
"There was nothing in the public domain which might have attracted one of the most famous painters of the early Victorian period to stop by and paint them", he said.
However, Mr Gorin von Grozny said that Landseer could have travelled through the Brontes' home town of Haworth whilst visiting his friend John Nussey at Bolton Hall in Yorkshire.
Nussey was the also brother of Charlotte Bronte's friend Ellen.
Mr Gorin von Gronzy said a small 'EL' monogram and the date 1838 visible in the crook of 'Charlotte's' arm, led to his belief that Landseer was the artist.
It is thought that the key to the painting's authenticity could lay in a sketch of a knee on the back of the portrait.
The sketch apparently shows a leg with a three inch scar just below the knee.
Mr Gorin von Grozny argued that a painting by Charlotte Bronte depicting a shepherdess, apparently with a similar scar on her leg, could have been a self-portrait.
The painting of the shepherdess by Bronte, based on Solitude at Dawn by Johann Henry Fuseli, appeared in a book called The Art of the Brontes.

And that would all be really exciting if there weren't big, huge 'but's to everything. And there's practically no need to write the arguments as a quick look at the picture clearly tells that these are not the Brontë sisters. Being three and holding a pen - when they were nearly 10 years away from becoming published authors - is not enough: the dresses, the faces, etc. seem to be all wrong, not to mention that the Edward Landseer - John Nussey - Ellen Nussey - Charlotte Brontë theory is a bit tenuous to put it mildly.

1 opmerking:

  1. Hello Kleurrijk,

    Since you first reported, the portrait has traced several chapters in the Bronte's story which, social conditions of the time, resulted in censorship, although there was no reason for professor O'Gorman to omit mentioning Charlotte's regional and national fame when she exhibited alongside Linnel & Turner at the Royal Northern Festival for the Promotion of Visual Arts in Leeds, 1834, when she 'borrowed' the title from a painting exhibited by her hero Landseer earlier that year.
    The black bangle 'Anne' wears on her right arm appears to be a gift, intriguingly, a "black, jet, bangle with 'tied-bow' decoration", survives at the Bronte Museum, apparantly worn until it fell apart, 'Charlotte's oval mount could have been made to fit her miniature sepia ovals, most significant, the audacious, high-tech 'reservoir pen' at the centre of composition is of the same dark, glossy material.
    The wonderful implication therefore, is that the person who conceived the 3 gifts of jet encouraged the girls to follow their literary potential, rather than compete in the bull-ring and drawing-rooms of visual art, a person able or qualified to give such radical advice might be someone who admired for example the rebel Caroline Norton, and understood the mechanics of print- women could buy books.
    Branwell's magnificent role in their future is also obscured in 'well-meaning' censorship.
    The detail is in the picture, even a slight, pallid perspiration and paleness of 'Anne' corresponds with her recovery during 1838, still endlessly informing and precise, it will speak for itself at auction later this month. I hope there is something in the picture you can believe in and enjoy.

    Best wishes, James GvG


The Parlour

The Parlour



Charlotte Bronte

Presently the door opened, and in came a superannuated mastiff, followed by an old gentleman very like Miss Bronte, who shook hands with us, and then went to call his daughter. A long interval, during which we coaxed the old dog, and looked at a picture of Miss Bronte, by Richmond, the solitary ornament of the room, looking strangely out of place on the bare walls, and at the books on the little shelves, most of them evidently the gift of the authors since Miss Bronte's celebrity. Presently she came in, and welcomed us very kindly, and took me upstairs to take off my bonnet, and herself brought me water and towels. The uncarpeted stone stairs and floors, the old drawers propped on wood, were all scrupulously clean and neat. When we went into the parlour again, we began talking very comfortably, when the door opened and Mr. Bronte looked in; seeing his daughter there, I suppose he thought it was all right, and he retreated to his study on the opposite side of the passage; presently emerging again to bring W---- a country newspaper. This was his last appearance till we went. Miss Bronte spoke with the greatest warmth of Miss Martineau, and of the good she had gained from her. Well! we talked about various things; the character of the people, - about her solitude, etc., till she left the room to help about dinner, I suppose, for she did not return for an age. The old dog had vanished; a fat curly-haired dog honoured us with his company for some time, but finally manifested a wish to get out, so we were left alone. At last she returned, followed by the maid and dinner, which made us all more comfortable; and we had some very pleasant conversation, in the midst of which time passed quicker than we supposed, for at last W---- found that it was half-past three, and we had fourteen or fifteen miles before us. So we hurried off, having obtained from her a promise to pay us a visit in the spring... ------------------- "She cannot see well, and does little beside knitting. The way she weakened her eyesight was this: When she was sixteen or seventeen, she wanted much to draw; and she copied nimini-pimini copper-plate engravings out of annuals, ('stippling,' don't the artists call it?) every little point put in, till at the end of six months she had produced an exquisitely faithful copy of the engraving. She wanted to learn to express her ideas by drawing. After she had tried to draw stories, and not succeeded, she took the better mode of writing; but in so small a hand, that it is almost impossible to decipher what she wrote at this time.

I asked her whether she had ever taken opium, as the description given of its effects in Villette was so exactly like what I had experienced, - vivid and exaggerated presence of objects, of which the outlines were indistinct, or lost in golden mist, etc. She replied, that she had never, to her knowledge, taken a grain of it in any shape, but that she had followed the process she always adopted when she had to describe anything which had not fallen within her own experience; she had thought intently on it for many and many a night before falling to sleep, - wondering what it was like, or how it would be, - till at length, sometimes after the progress of her story had been arrested at this one point for weeks, she wakened up in the morning with all clear before her, as if she had in reality gone through the experience, and then could describe it, word for word, as it had happened. I cannot account for this psychologically; I only am sure that it was so, because she said it. ----------------------She thought much of her duty, and had loftier and clearer notions of it than most people, and held fast to them with more success. It was done, it seems to me, with much more difficulty than people have of stronger nerves, and better fortunes. All her life was but labour and pain; and she never threw down the burden for the sake of present pleasure. I don't know what use you can make of all I have said. I have written it with the strong desire to obtain appreciation for her. Yet, what does it matter? She herself appealed to the world's judgement for her use of some of the faculties she had, - not the best, - but still the only ones she could turn to strangers' benefit. They heartily, greedily enjoyed the fruits of her labours, and then found out she was much to be blamed for possessing such faculties. Why ask for a judgement on her from such a world?" elizabeth gaskell/charlotte bronte

Poem: No coward soul is mine

No coward soul is mine,
No trembler in the worlds storm-troubled sphere:
I see Heavens glories shine,
And faith shines equal, arming me from fear.

O God within my breast.
Almighty, ever-present Deity!
Life -- that in me has rest,
As I -- Undying Life -- have power in Thee!

Vain are the thousand creeds
That move mens hearts: unutterably vain;
Worthless as withered weeds,
Or idlest froth amid the boundless main,

To waken doubt in one
Holding so fast by Thine infinity;
So surely anchored on
The steadfast Rock of immortality.

With wide-embracing love
Thy Spirit animates eternal years,
Pervades and broods above,
Changes, sustains, dissolves, creates, and rears.

Though earth and man were gone,
And suns and universes ceased to be,
And Thou wert left alone,
Every existence would exist in Thee.

There is not room for Death,
Nor atom that his might could render void:
Thou -- Thou art Being and Breath,
And what Thou art may never be destroyed.

Emily Bronte

Family tree

The Bronte Family

Grandparents - paternal
Hugh Brunty was born 1755 and died circa 1808. He married Eleanor McClory, known as Alice in 1776.

Grandparents - maternal
Thomas Branwell (born 1746 died 5th April 1808) was married in 1768 to Anne Carne (baptised 27th April 1744 and died 19th December 1809).

Father was Patrick Bronte, the eldest of 10 children born to Hugh Brunty and Eleanor (Alice) McClory. He was born 17th March 1777 and died on 7th June 1861. Mother was Maria Branwell, who was born on 15th April 1783 and died on 15th September 1821.

Maria had a sister, Elizabeth who was known as Aunt Branwell. She was born in 1776 and died on 29th October 1842.

Patrick Bronte married Maria Branwell on 29th December 1812.

The Bronte Children
Patrick and Maria Bronte had six children.
The first child was Maria, who was born in 1814 and died on 6th June 1825.
The second daughter, Elizabeth was born on 8th February 1815 and died shortly after Maria on 15th June 1825. Charlotte was the third daughter, born on 21st April 1816.

Charlotte married Arthur Bell Nicholls (born 1818) on 29th June 1854. Charlotte died on 31st March 1855. Arthur lived until 2nd December 1906.

The first and only son born to Patrick and Maria was Patrick Branwell, who was born on 26th June 1817 and died on 24th September 1848.

Emily Jane, the fourth daughter was born on 30th July 1818 and died on 19th December 1848.

The sixth and last child was Anne, born on 17th January 1820 who died on 28th May 1849.

Top Withens in the snow.

Top Withens in the snow.



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