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 22 mei 2022

Author Anne Bronte was keen rock collector, research shows.

Anne Bronte was not only a talented writer but also a skilled rock collector interested in geology, researchers have revealed.

The youngest Bronte sister built up a collection of specimens before her death aged 29 in 1849.

It was thought she collected them for their aesthetic value, but research shared by Sally Jaspars has shown she was an informed geology fan.

Ms Jaspers is studying Bronte as part of a PhD at the University of Aberdeen.

She said: "Her interest in geology is mentioned in her literary works - indeed in The Tenant Of Wildfell Hall she references the science and a book by Sir Humphry Davy directly."

Ms Jaspers was helped by Stephen Bowden, from the university's School of Geosciences, who helped to analyse the collection housed at the Bronte Parsonage Museum in Haworth, West Yorkshire. 

Experts from the University of Leeds and a specialist spectroscopy company were also involved, and they found she had carnelians and agates which she collected in Scarborough, where she worked as a governess.

She also had flowstone and a rare kind of red obsidian, which originated outside of the UK.

When the Brontë sisters strolled the boulevards of Brussels.

 Read all: brusselstimes/when-the-bronte-sisters-strolled-the-boulevards-of-brusselsBy Helen MacEwan

The Belgian capital barely acknowledges its link with the two most famous Brontë sisters, Charlotte and Emily. A plaque commemorates their stay here in 1842-43, at a girls’ boarding school called the Pensionnat Heger, which stood on the site now occupied by Bozar, the Centre for Fine Arts. However, it is placed high up near Bozar’s entrance: most concertgoers pouring through the doors are oblivious of it, as are most tourists.

It is a pity the city is so silent about its Brontë link. Visitors are unlikely to have heard about the connection before they come. Mention the Brontës and how many people picture the sisters strolling on the boulevards in Brussels?

Yet they did – and so do some of their fictional characters. Although it is not hard to see why the connection can be missed. Charlotte wrote two novels set in Brussels and based on her time in the city: her first, The Professor, which was not published until 1857, two years after her death; and her fourth and last, Villette (1853). But neither were bestsellers like Jane Eyre. Many literary pundits rate Villette as her most interesting book, but, sadly, no feature film has ever been made about its heroine Lucy Snowe, a sharply observant expat experiencing loneliness and frustration as a teacher at a pensionnat.

woensdag 2 maart 2022

zaterdag 26 februari 2022

Charlotte's Irish honeymoon with a different approach.

A book on Charlotte Brontë’s Irish honeymoon, “Charlotte Brontë – An Irish Odyssey”, read all: brusselsbronte/charlottes-irish-honeymoon-continued

For his recreation of the honeymoon, Michael O’Dowd also uses writings of literary friends and acquaintances who had visited the same places before Charlotte and Arthur’s honeymoon, including Harriet Martineau and William Makepeace Thackera, as well as well-known guidebooks on Ireland of the time (e.g. by Anna Maria and Samuel Hall).

Moreover, “An Irish Odyssey” is interspersed with extracts from poems and verse by well-known British and Irish poets (such as Thomas Moore, Sir Aubrey de Vere, Percy Bysshe Shelley, Sir Walter Scott and many more), which creates a very poetic atmosphere.

In all of these chapters, the author gives us a lot of information on the scenery that Charlotte and Arthur may have seen on their visits (based on travel and tourist guides of the time). He explores possible ways of travelling (by boat, train, coach, jaunting car, …) that Charlotte and Arthur may have used, as this is not always clear from the letters. He provides scientific facts on fauna and flora. He explores the historical and spiritual heritage of Banagher (where Arthur’s family lived) and its surroundings in great detail, but also historical facts about Ireland in general are shared with the reader. 

I once was searching for information about the honeymoon of Charlotte and Arthur. I found a lot of information Brontesisters.blog/honeymoon

zaterdag 19 februari 2022

Lace collar from Charlotte Bronte.

 Nick Holland @Nick_Holland_

Another Saturday treasure from the wonderful Bronte Parsonage Museum. This lace collar was worn by Charlotte Bronte and was made for her by her little sister Anne Bronte:

donderdag 17 februari 2022

POETRY performances are returning to a historic pub with a long literary legacy.

Monthly sessions are being held at the Black Bull in Haworth, where in the 1830s Branwell Bronte entertained travellers and guests with stories and poems. Keighleynews/poetry-sessions-return-historic-haworth-pub

An interesting article: How Tuberculosis Influenced Victorian Fashion

It was often called “consumption” because of how much weight those inflicted with tuberculosis lost. Another nickname was “the white plague” because of how pale people would become. And yet, its final nickname was “the romantic disease.” People became enamored with the physical effects of contracting the illness. Pale skin, thin waists, and flushed lips and cheeks from long-term fevers were seen as quite desirable. “Consumption, I am aware, is a flattering malady,” Charlotte Brontë wrote in a letter as she watched her sister fall ever sicker with the disease. Read more: everythinggp

Mystery of Brontë’s Mohawk moccasins.

Charlotte Brontë’s moccasins, as featured in ‘Defying Expectations: Inside Charlotte Brontë’s Wardrobe’.
Research has shown that they were made in the mid to late 1840s near Montreal, Canada.

Visit ‘Defying Expectations’ throughout the year at the Museum.


Sitting in the Brontë Parsonage museum archives are a pair of native American beaded leather moccasins. Donated in 1983 by a Brontë enthusiast, the shoes arrived accompanied by a note claiming that they had once belonged to Charlotte Brontë and curators have been puzzled by this ever since. How could they have made their way into the hands of a plain parson’s daughter from Victorian Yorkshire?

Strange article about the new Charlotte Bronte exhibition, her dresses.

The article is about this dress 
Titlephotographs of dresses worn by Charlotte Bronte
Descriptionprinted page 22 showing two b/w images of a model wearing {103} pink frock and cape worn by Charlotte Bronte and {104} silk dress worn on her wedding tour by Charlotte Bronte [135mm l x 97mm w; fair;] [x 3 copies. (From the catalogue from the Bronte Parsonage)

This article is surprising me very much: 


A new side of Charlotte Brontë, showing the author of Jane Eyre’s unexpected penchant for colourful, fashionable, even “sensual” clothing, is revealed in a new exhibition at the Brontë Parsonage Museum.

“My personal favourite is her pink wrapper, which is a really, really strange garment,” said Dr Eleanor Houghton, a historian, writer and illustrator who has co-curated the exhibition. “It was a sort of house coat with a matching cape. It’s hideous, pink, with little flowers on it, very bold, very bright and huge – very voluminous. It’s absolutely the opposite of anything you would ever associate with Charlotte Brontë.”

It’s a sensual garment, it’s something that she would have been seen in in the house, and with Nicholls. So while it’s not exactly a negligee, it’s sort of a Victorian equivalent. It’s an intimate garment,” said Houghton.

  • Really? Do we, Charlotte Bronte lovers, believe she could never have worn this?   This cosy, high-necked, covering everything dress, frock?
  • Do we believe Charlotte Bronte was some kind of a prude? The author of Jane Eyre?
I asked the opinion of a friend, who studies the Brontes, her reaction:

"The expert  quoted in the article seem to have an idea of Charlotte that she was some sort of austere, Quaker maid! Ha! Yes, CB cultivated that idea, but none should believe it. At heart she was a deeply sensual woman. 

Charlotte LOVED all the extra bows and ruffles!  Look at her wedding dress. She designed one frilly, extravagant, element after another. Charlotte was not plain in her dress once she had funds from her books.  Her forays into fashion were not always sure,  she still regularly called on her friend, Ellen Nussey, for advice, but they were determined. Particularly when she was visiting London, or on an important occasion, such as her marriage.

The article also portrays  this garment as something like a kinky sex outfit, when it's simply a dressing gown and one that covered her up completely!  People wore dressing gowns back then between their night gowns and  their day clothes.  I imagine Charlotte wore this gown at her dressing table  to brush her hair. etc.  

However, the 1927 catalogue calls this outfit a  "frock", that is a dress, with a cape.  So perhaps it was indeed a dress she wore during the day,( most likely in London, too dressy for Haworth! ) and so it is not a even dressing gown. Today our night dress and day clothes often look the same, like lounge wear, so it may be harder for us to tell! 

I would also point out Charlotte would add large, even extravagant, elements when designing her outfits, like the  balloon sleeves on the going away dress and extra padding on the outfit in question, to add bulk to her tiny figure."

dinsdag 15 februari 2022

Unravelling the Mystery: Charlotte Brontë’s 1850 ‘Thackeray Dress’, by Eleanor Houghton.

In the summer of 1850, there was a frisson of excitement in London society. Charlotte Brontë, the recently revealed writer of the best-selling novel Jane Eyre, was in the capital, staying with her publisher, George Smith. The highlight of Charlotte’s trip was a large, formal dinner hosted by her literary hero, William Makepeace Thackeray. To this august event it has long been assumed that she wore a floral print, white and blue delaine skirt and bodice. Read all: tandfonline/Thackeray Dress

 euppublishing/Unravelling the Mystery: Charlotte Brontë’s 1850 ‘Thackeray Dress’

maandag 14 februari 2022


This brand new exhibition,  co-curated with historical consultant Dr Eleanor Houghton, places focus on some of the remarkable garments and accessories worn by Charlotte Brontë. These brightly coloured, fashionable, even exotic items boldly challenge the preconception that Brontë and her famous protagonist Jane Eyre  were, at least in terms of dress, one and the same. The clothes draw attention to both Charlotte’s ordinary and extraordinary lives but also remind us that she was an active participant of the fast-changing mid-nineteenth century.

At the heart of ‘Defying Expectations’ is a striped evening dress, which has never been exhibited before. The dress was proved to be Charlotte’s during an extensive period of research conducted over the last six years by Dr Eleanor Houghton, the first scholar ever to have studied the clothing in the Brontë Society's collection  in detail. 

The exhibition features more than twenty pieces of Charlotte’s clothing and accessories, and offers an intimate insight into both her domestic and literary lives. Bronte Parsonage/whats-on/1169/defying-expectations-inside-charlotte-brontes-wardrobe,

vrijdag 21 januari 2022


Presenter Aoife Hinds visits the birthplace of Patrick Brontë in Rathfriland, County Down, during filming for The Brontës: An Irish Tale to be shown on BBC One Northern Ireland, Tuesday 1 February at 10.35pm and also on BBC iPlayer

The Brontë sisters are widely considered to be quintessentially 19th century English, regional novelists. This is not, however, the whole picture. Dig a little deeper and there is another chapter to their story, rooted in Rathfriland, Co Down, that is every bit as epic as anything penned by the sisters.

In The  Brontës: An Irish Tale, presenter Aoife Hinds (Derry Girls, Normal People, The Last Call) will explore the surprising Irish connections that had a lasting impact on the Brontës, their work and their legacy in locations throughout Ireland and Yorkshire.

Aoife will visit Patrick Bronte's birthplace in Rathfriland, County Down and discover how a rural school teacher ended up studying in Cambridge. She will also explore the romance between Charlotte Bronte and Arthur Bell Nicholls, from County Antrim. 

Charlotte and Arthur Bell Nicholls married after a long courtship and ended up honeymooning in Ireland. Aoife will also visit Banagher, County Offaly, where Arthur lived after Charlotte's death, and discover that it is thanks to Arthur much of the iconic Bronte memorabilia survives to this day.

The  Brontës: An Irish Tale, part of BBC NI’s Season Of Arts, is on BBC One Northern Ireland, Tuesday 1 February at 10.35pm, and on BBC iPlayer.

The documentary is a Clean Slate Television production for BBC Northern Ireland.

Het is weer die tijd van het jaar. De displays wijzigen en de collectie opschonen

zondag 19 december 2021

Beautiful photographs of Haworth - Dave Zdanowicz Photography

Beautiful photographs of Haworth - 

Dave Zdanowicz Photography


vrijdag 17 december 2021

Bronte and Austen treasures saved by national libraries charity.

Rare handwritten poems by Emily Brontë, works by Robert Burns and Jane Austen first editions are included in the collection.

Friends of National Libraries (FNL) have raised over £15m to acquire the Honresfield Library, which houses the works, and say they intend to keep it in the public domain.

The library has been largely inaccessible for the last 80 years.

It was curated towards the end of the 19th century by Rochdale mill owner William Law. He gathered manuscripts and printed books written by literary giants from England and Scotland.

Auction house Sotheby's announced the sale of the library, in three tranches, in May 2021.

Emily Bronte's poems had been expected to fetch between £800,000 and £1.2m, and a first edition of her novel Wuthering Heights between £200,000 and £300,000.

However, FNL successfully petitioned the agents to postpone the sale.

The delay allowed the charity to raise sufficient funds to purchase the entire collection outright on behalf of libraries in the UK

Following the purchase, FNL said the collection will remain permanently in the public domain and never be lost to overseas institutions or to private collections that are inaccessible to the British public

 Read all: bbc.com/news

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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