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

zondag 20 december 2015

National Portrait Gallery to reveal mysteries of shadowy Bronte brother

 

Painted by Branwell, who hoped to become a professional artist, it is well-known to scholars of the Brontes, first mentioned by author Mrs Gaskell in 1853 when it showed just the three sisters separated by the pillar Photo: National Portrait Gallery

By , Arts Correspondent:
For decades, he has been the shadowy figure gradually emerging in between his sisters in the only existing group portrait of the Brontes. Now the National Portrait Gallery is set to reveal the mysteries behind Branwell Bronte’s self-portrait, after using the latest scientific techniques to reveal how he began sketching himself only to change his mind immediately. Experts expect to be able to show the most accurate images yet of what his picture would have looked like, before he painted a solid pillar over his own face and took himself out of the family group. The painting, which hangs in the gallery and shows Charlotte, Emily and Anne Bronte together, is to be the centrepiece of a new exhibition to celebrate the 200th anniversary of the Jane Eyre author’s birth.

Painted by Branwell, who hoped to become a professional artist, it is well-known to scholars of the Brontes, first mentioned by author Mrs Gaskell in 1853 when it showed just the three sisters separated by the pillar. The portrait itself disappeared, before being found folded carelessly on top of a cupboard in 1906 by the second wife of Charlotte’s husband Reverend A.B. Nicholls. Since being acquired by the NPG in 1914, fading paintwork and the steady march of time has gradually unveiled a shadowy male figure in the middle of them, widely believed to be Branwell. The painting is now undergoing scientific testing to tell the true story behind how the painting was constructed, and give fans of Charlotte Bronte a deeper insight into her home life.

A study of paintwork, which allowed experts to date different part of the portrait, has shown Branwell only made the briefest of sketches of himself, and did not begin painting his skintone at all.
The pillar is now believed to have been painted on immediately by Branwell, likely as an artistic decision, rather than seeing him covered up at a later date. By February, when the exhibition opens, curators hope to use the latest technology to show what the original image looked like in its most detail yet, and tell the full story of how it came to the public eye. A spokesman said: “Central to the display will be the presentation of new research into the only surviving painted portraits of Charlotte with her two sisters, Emily and Anne, by their brother Branwell, in the Gallery’s Collection.

“This will explore the intriguing story of its discovery folded on top of a wardrobe, subsequent acquisition by the Gallery and its restoration.” Lucy Wood, assistant curator of the exhibition, said latest research had shown there was no sign of “flesh paint” under the pillar, adding: “It appears that he was only ever loosely sketched and never fully painted up. “The pillar was added in at an early stage, so it appears he painted himself over.” The painting will go on display alongside dozens of items loaned from the Bronte Parsonage Museum, home of Charlotte and her siblings. It includes paintings and drawings by Charlotte, letters and journals, the famous ‘little books’ created by the Brontë sisters as children and the first book Charlotte ever made.

Other items include a pair of cloth ankle boots worn by Charlotte, first editions of Jane Eyre, chalk drawings of the author and Elizabeth Gaskell’s biography, Life of Charlotte Brontë. Ms Wood said: “This rare chance to see the only painted portrait of Charlotte Brontë alongside illuminating personal treasures from the Brontë Parsonage Museum provides a fascinating opportunity to celebrate her life and remarkable achievements as one of the most celebrated authors of the 19th century. “It will enable visitors to learn more about her private life, her influences and come away with a real sense of who she was.”

Juliet Barker, former curator of the Bronte Parsonage Museum, biographer and author of the forthcoming The Brontes: A Life in Letters, said the image of Branwell is already well-known, but said new techniques may allow experts to uncover more. .telegraph/National-Portrait-Gallery-to-reveal-mysteries-of-shadowy-Bronte-brother

1 opmerking:

  1. Anne12/24/2015 03:03:00 pm

    It's great they are applying the latest techniques to discover its history. Richmond's portrait of CB was not on display last year at the NPG. That undoubtedly will be there in this show.

    I always maintain Branwell's column portrait of his sisters is a better painting that people think. Is it 1st rank? No. But it doesn't have to be to be. Among the more polished pictures, the frankness and freshness of Branwell's painting's is arresting. Emily, the most elusive Bronte, stares at one directly with a challenge

    BeantwoordenVerwijderen

Parsonage

Parsonage

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).

Parents
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.

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