The society has bought the simple mahogany drop-leaf table with a grant of £580,000 from the National Heritage Memorial Fund The society said the desk was one of the most evocative and significant literary artefacts of the 19th century. The table at which the Brontë sisters wrote was the focus of domestic life in the Brontë household at Haworth Parsonage, and where the siblings gathered to write and discuss their stories, poems, and novels. The table bears the marking of the family’s daily use with ink blots, a large candle burn in the centre, a small letter ‘E’ carved into the surface, and beneath the table are ownership markings, possibly in the hand of Charlotte Brontë’s husband, Arthur Bell Nicholls.
The table was also featured in an 1837 diary paper sketch by Emily, showing herself and Anne writing at the table with all their papers scattered before them. The table was sold during the sale of the household effects of the Parsonage, which took place after the death of Patrick Brontë in 1861. The table is listed as lot 154 in the hand-written sale catalogue, held at the Brontë Parsonage Museum, which shows that it was purchased by Mr Ogden for the sum of £1-11-0. The Ogdens sold it to another family, within which it has been handed down as an heirloom, before the museum was approached for ownership. bronteblog
Ann Dinsdale, the Collections Manager at the Brontë Parsonage Museum, said: “We are extremely proud and excited to be bringing the Brontës’ table back to its original home.
“It is one of the most important literary artefacts of the 19th century and displaying it in the Parsonage dining room marks a wonderful commencement to our programme of activity marking the forthcoming bicentenaries of the births of the Brontë siblings.”
The table was loaned to the Brontë Parsonage Museum for a short period in 1997 to mark the 150th anniversary of the publication of Jane Eyre and Wuthering Heights.
Carole Souter the chief executive of the National Heritage Memorial Fund (NHMF), said the Brontë sisters were internationally revered for their contribution to English literature.
She said: “Novels which have enthralled millions of readers were imagined and written at this table and seeing it brings to life the creative process behind the famous works.
“NHMF trustees felt it important that it should be saved for the nation so that it can be displayed to the public in its original setting.”
Heritage minister Ed Vaizey said: “The Brontës’ family dining table has a close connection with some of the most famous English literature written in the 19th century.brontesisters/ table
“The National Heritage Memorial Fund grant recognises the importance of keeping these literary artefacts on display and it’s wonderful that visitors to the Brontës’ former home in Yorkshire will now be able to enjoy it in its original setting."
The table will be displayed in its original position in the dining room at the Parsonage where it can be viewed by the public from the February 1, when the Brontë Parsonage reopens for the coming season. (David Knights)
bbc./news/Bronte table brought back to Haworth Parsonage