Charlotte Brontë’s mahogany writing desk, a pen-holder and some sugar tongs are amongst the latest acquisitions to join the important collection of material owned by the Parsonage.
These rare Brontë items once formed part of a large and important collection of Bronteana amassed by William Law who sought out people that knew the Brontë family in order to enrich his own collection. After his death in 1901, these passed to his nephew, Sir Alfred Law, who sold some of the drawings and manuscripts at auction. Some of the personal Brontë items, including the selection given to the museum, were previously given as gifts to his nurse.
Sir Alfred Law died in 1939 and the present whereabouts of the remainder of this unique collection, which is known to have included manuscripts and books of great rarity and value, remains a mystery.
Along with these Brontë treasures donated to the Parsonage were a wooden trunk, a display case, a black morocco stationary case, a pocket cigar case and copies of Brontë books- all previously owned by William Law himself.
It’s always exciting when new Brontë items come to light and when we’re able to add to the museum’s wonderful collection. But a donation on this scale, with an item as significant as the writing desk used by Charlotte Brontë, is very rare. We’re delighted that these items are now where they belong, here in Haworth; where they can be enjoyed by generations of visitors to the museum. We’re extremely grateful for such a generous donation. (Andrew McCarthy, Director, Brontë Parsonage Museum)
The anonymous donor purchased these items from an auction at Sotheby’s in London on 17th December 2009 but decided that the appropriate place for them to be housed permanently would be the Parsonage museum.
The items will be on display from Tuesday 31 May.