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

dinsdag 24 november 2015

George Richmond' s portrait de Charlotte Brontë et ""le-vrai-visage-de-Charlotte".

Louise Sanfaçon made the portrait in the right.
Lorsque le portrait de Charlotte Brontë, réalisé par l’artiste George Richmond, fut publié en frontispice de sa biographie en 1857, soit deux ans après sa mort à l’âge de trente-huit ans, il a attiré quelques commentaires acrimonieux de son ancienne amie Mary Taylor : «Je ne suis pas du tout favorable à l’idée de publier un portrait qui embellisse ses traits.» a-t-elle répliqué à la biographe Elizabeth Gaskell.  «J’aurais de loin préféré voir le vrai visage de Charlotte, avec les yeux et la bouche plus rapprochés, de même que son menton carré et son grand nez disproportionnésoeursbronte/le-vrai-visage-de-charlotte/

When the portrait of Charlotte Brontë, directed by George Richmond, was published as the frontispiece of his biography in 1857, two years after his death at the age of thirty-eight years, he drew some of his former acrimonious comments friend Mary Taylor: "I am not at all favorable to the idea of publishing a portrait that embellish his features." she replied to the biographer Elizabeth Gaskell.
I had rather the mouth and eyes had been nearer together
and shown the veritable square face and large disproportionate nose'
Gaskell herself had written of her subject’s “plain, large and ill-set features”, “crooked mouth and large nose”, and in private had been even more specific about “a reddish face; large mouth & many teeth gone; altogether plain; the forehead square, broad and rather overhanging”.
George Smith was so impressed by the prominence of Miss Brontë’s brow that he took her to a phrenologist in 1851 to have it analysed, but thought little of her personal charms, recalling that her head “seemed too large for her body” and that “her face was marred by the shape of the mouth and by the complexion”.  

5 opmerkingen:

  1. Speaking as an artist, I approve of everything but that brow. It's been over done imo and ruins the effect. She looks like she has water on the brain! The hair profile is too altered as well.

    Richmond was known for making people look better. But clever fellow, he never tried to alter them completely. The secret is he put everything in , but he softened the definition of what was considered the less lovely aspects . Charlotte's large nose is in his picture, he just softened the line on one side etc.

    In this new picture, the artist actually took brow away from the side and then added too much brow hight .
    Extra brow should have been added on the side ,over and around the eyes, (where Richmond put it) and then add just a little more. One must listen to Richmond as well as Mary.

  2. If I read the way people describe Charlotte I think Louise Sanfaçon did it rather well.The forehead square, broad and rather overhanging, a square face, a large nose, eyes near to each other. George Smith impressed by the brows. Maybe the eyes had to be a little nearer to each other.

    I was always surprised that Charlotte thought she was ugly. The portraits of her don't show the most beautiful woman of the earth, but certainly not an ugly woman.
    if I see the portrait Louise Sanfaçon i start to understand what Charlotte might have looked. Ruth Wilson in Jane Eyre looks a lot like this.

    I once saw a strip of Jane Eyre. Jane was very, very ugly and angry. A little bit like the caricature of herself she sent to Ellen Nussey. I thought maybe Charlotte was looking like this. I will search for it again.

  3. Indeed" brow over hanging" , that is ; some what wider ( broader) than Richmond made it...but not straight up, and so much taller as we see here.

    Imo he would not make her so different as to be this noticeable. Then the point of his craft is lost. I believe Smith choose him because he was known to flatter, but flatter convincingly. The rest as I say, I like.

    Was this done digitally using a file of Richmond's drawing ? I would think so.

    In Branwell's portrait, her brow is more square than in Richmond's drawing. But her hair was not hiding it as it was later, in 1850.

    Charlotte had such a keen sense of beauty, she was hard on everyone about it .... Poor James Taylor! Among others lol And being such a honest person, she included herself in that judgment just as serverly if not more so.. If Mary is our guide, it's to be remembered she told Charlotte she was ugly.

  4. Charlotte started to cry when she saw the finished portrait Richmond made. She told, it was like seeing her sister. So, there must be a resemblance in it.

    But not only Mary told Charlotte is ugly. She told it in the hardest words. But Gaskell and George Smith did mention it to. But much more polite. Gaskell gossiping about everything. In fact brought the gossiping into the world. And George, everytime I read his words I don't like him at all.

  5. Yes it's said she thought it looked like Anne, and one can see that when looking at Branwell's painting. The older George got, the colder he seem to become. He could be quite ruthless later in life. He knew how distressing a check without a personal note would be to Charlotte...far more upsetting than the low payment. It was payment for putting him and his mother in a book! lol. But you are right, his description of her looks seems cold,dismissive. I forget who reported CB had missing teeth! Yet to Arthur, Charlotte Bronte was the most alluring woman in the world. Love sees inside a person and then the outside.


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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