23 5/8 in. x 18 3/4 in. (600 mm x 476 mm)
Bequeathed by the sitter's husband, Rev A.B. Nicholls, 1906
George Richmond (1809-1896), Portrait painter and draughtsman; son of Thomas Richmond. Artist associated with 320 portraits, Sitter in 13 portraits.
Brontë's publisher, George Smith, commissioned this portrait of the novelist from Richmond as a gift for her father, who saw in it 'strong indications of the genius of the author'. Elizabeth Gaskell recalled seeing the portrait hung in the parlour of the Haworth parsonage, and a copy of it appeared in her biography.
It was during this visit in the summer of 1850 that the Smiths persuaded Charlotte Bronte to sit to George Richmond for a portrait, and she agreed, as the drawing was to be framed and presented to her father, and Ellen Nussey had also wished for a portrait of her friend. Richmond found Charlotte Bronte by no means a good subject; it is well known that he was keen about having a good picture as well as a faithful
likeness. Richmond found Charlotte Bronte very depressed, and after she had given him two sittings he lost hope. It was her melancholy expression, as well as her irregular features that troubled him. On her third visit, the Duke of Wellington's servant was just leaving the studio as she entered, which caused Richmond to say in welcoming her, " If you had been here a quarter of an hour sooner, you would have seen the Duke of Wellington." Whereupon she broke out into eager talking about the Duke, and the artist caught the wistful expression given in her portrait.
When Richmond was getting on well with the drawing, Charlotte Bronte stood behind him, looking at it, he heard a sob, and on turning round she said to him, " Excuse me it is so like my sister Emily."
When the drawing was finished, Mr. George Smith says in his paper, " In the Early Forties," " She burst into tears, and said it was so like her sister Anne, who had died the year before." The fact was, there was a family likeness between the three sisters, but Charlotte was not so good-looking as Emily and Anne. Mrs. Gaskell considered the drawing an excellent likeness, as did others who knew her in 1850.
Mr. Smith sent the drawing, and also a framed portrait of the Duke of Wellington as a present for Mr. Bronte, whom, as an Irishman, he greatly admired.
This portrait of Charlotte Bronte I never saw before.
for more information about this portrait read this
Thackeray’s daughter, the writer Anne Isabella Thackeray Ritchie recalled a visit to her father by Charlotte Brontë:
Artist not known
Brontë Parsonage Museum
Medium: ink, crayon, chalk & wash
Dimensions: diameter: 15.5cm
Martha Brown (a servant in the Bronte household), 1855; William Law; Sotheby's, 2004.
Recently restored chalk drawing of Charlotte Bronte which was purchased at Sotherbys in 2004 and carefully restored to its former glory by experts.
When I see these portraits
Why did Charlotte think she is ugly?