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

zaterdag 20 juni 2009

'Gun Group portrait'

mily Jane Brontë (1818 - 1848)
c. 1833 / 1834
By Patrick Branwell Brontë
This painting fragment is all that remains of a much larger portrait. The original, commonly known as the 'Gun Group portrait', showed all three sisters along with their brother (the artist) Branwell. Sometime after 1861, when Patrick - the last of the Brontës - had died, Charlotte's husband, the Reverend Arthur Bell Nicholls, destroyed the rest of this picture as he regarded the likenesses of the other three to be so poor.

This is my restoration attempt of the picture; however, I am not totally happy with the end result. While it is nice to see the painting complete and appearing undamaged (unlike the original, shown above) - some of the life-like element of the face and hair has been lost. I hope, eventually, to produce a better version.

Emily was born on 30th July 1818; and being only eighteen months older than Anne, the two were extremely close throughout their childhood and youth. Ellen Nussey declared that 'she and Anne were like twins - inseparable companions, and in the very closest sympathy which never had any interruption.' However, as they grew into womanhood, this closeness gradually waned as their views on religion and various aspects of life began to diverge. Years later, in her poem 'Self Communion', Anne described the pair as being like two trees that 'at the root were one', yet whose 'stems must stand alone'.

Emily produced only one novel - the all-time classic Wuthering Heights (1847) which was initially published under her pseudonym, Ellis Bell. She is now also highly regarded for her poetry. Emily died of consumption (tuberculosis) on 19 December 1848 aged 30.

William Weightman (1814 - 1842)

This portrait of William Weightman was drawn by Charlotte in February 1840.

Weightman came to Haworth as assistant curate to Patrick Brontë in August 1839. He very soon became very popular around the parish, being noted as a very charming, cheerful, friendly and kind young man. Patrick admired him and he became a very good friend to Branwell. He did, however, develop the reputation, in some quarters, of being something of a ladies man.

In Feb 1840, about six months after his arrival, Ellen Nussey came to the Parsonage for a three weeks stay. Neither she, nor the Brontë girls had ever received a Valentine card; so it caused quite a stir on the morning of February 14th. when they each received one. Of course, the culprit was the scheming Weightman. In his usual mode of conduct, he had made a bold attempt to add a little sparkle to the girls' lives, and in a vain attempt to disguise his handiwork, had walked the ten miles to Bradford to post them. He had written verses in each of the Valentines; however, only the titles of three of them are known, but these give a general idea of their content: 'Fair Ellen, Fair Ellen', 'Away fond Love' and 'Soul divine'. The girls were not to be fooled by the Bradford post-mark, and soon realised that the chirpy curate was the guilty party. However, being so delighted with that morning's events, the four conspired to write a poem which they promptly returned to Weightman

A Rowland for your Oliver
We think you've justly earned;
You sent us each a valentine,
Your gift is now returned.
We cannot write or talk like you;
We're plain folks every one;
You've played a clever trick on us,
We thank you for the fun.

Believe us when we frankly say
(Our words, though blunt are true),
At home, abroad, by night or day,
We all wish well to you.

And never may a cloud come o'er
The sunshine of your mind;
Kind friends, warm hearts, and happy hours,
Through life we trust you'll find.

Where'er you go, however far
In future years you stray,
There shall not want our earnest prayer
To speed you on your way.

There is strong belief that Anne was in love with him, though no evidence exists to show that any relationship occurred between them. Indeed, the only indication that Anne's feelings were reciprocated by Weightman is a reference made by Charlotte in her letter to Ellen Nussey, dated 20 January 1842:

'. . . He sits opposite Anne at church sighing softly and looking out of the corners of his eyes to win her attention - and Anne is so quiet, her look so downcast - they are a picture . . .' 51

Weightman died tragically of cholera on 6 September 1842, aged only 28.

Elizabeth Branwell

The daughter of Thomas Branwell and Anne Carne, and elder sister of Maria Brontë, Elizabeth Branwell was born in 1776 in Penzance, Cornwall. When Maria was terminally ill with cancer in 1821, Elizabeth travelled up to Yorkshire and moved into the Parsonage to nurse her dying sister and help run the household. She subsequently spent the rest of her life there raising the Brontë children - to whom she was known as 'Aunt Branwell'. She provided much of the children's education, including needlework and embroidery for the girls. Many years later, Ellen Nussey declared that Anne was her aunt's favourite.

In early Brontë biography, 'Aunt Branwell' was portrayed as a rather stern and austere individual; however, continued study into the Brontës' lives has indicated that she was probably quite the contrary.

This rarely seen portrait (extreme right) was sketched by J. Tonkin in 1799 - when Elizabeth would have been 23 years old - many years before Maria had even met Patrick Brontë.


Thrushcross Grange

Emily Brontë does not describe Thrushcross Grange with the same detail that she applies to Wuthering Heights.
Thrushcross Grange lies within a large park, with a two-mile (three kilometer) walk from the main house to the porter's lodge by the entrance. It is a four mile (six and a half kilometer) walk to Wuthering Heights which lies to the north. Wuthering Heights cannot be seen from the Grange although Penistone Crags beyond can.
Some of the rooms mentioned are:
A drawing room where the young Heathcliff and Catherine first see the Lintons which has crimson carpets, chairs and tables, a white ceiling bordered with gold, and glass-droplet chandeliers
A parlour where Heathcliff meets them on his return which looks out on the garden, the park and the valley of Gimmerton. The moor is in the distance and Wuthering Heights (the hill) can be seen although Wuthering Heights (the house) is hidden on the other side. It is on the first floor and a window on the opposite side also overlooks the courtyard.
The kitchen is part of a wing and the rear of the building is used when the Grange is not occupied except by servants. The kitchen leads directly into the entrance hall and has a door into the yard.
There is also the hall, the library (which may be another name for the parlour), Edgar and Catherine's bedroom, Isabella's room, Ellen's room.
Upstairs, there is a study with a fire (which is used by Lockwood) as well as the main bedrooms used by the family in residence.

Shibden Hall near Halifax (OS reference SE 1064 2573, altitude 185 meters), as mentioned above, is much closer to the sort of grand house imagined. Emily would probably have visited it while teaching at Law Hill near the town.

Shibden Valley

Shibden Valley, the landscape visible from the back of Law Hill, where Emily resided as a governess at one time. Shibden Hall is used as the setting for Thrushcross Grange.

Law Hill

The Art of Anne Brontë

Country Scene with Cattle
15 December 1836
Signed and dated along the bottom: 'Anne Brontë', 'December 15 1836'. Another picture Anne drew while attending Roe Head School - she was aged sixteen.

Sunrise Over Sea
13 November 1839
Signed and dated - 'Anne Brontë', 'November 13th. 1839'.

Drawn while Anne was governess to the Ingham children at Blake Hall, Mirfield (this was near to Roe Head School). Anne was nineteen at the time. Edward Chitham suggests it may be another drawing symbolic of Anne herself - peering out over a new life.

'What You Please'
25 July 1840
Signed, titled and dated: 'Anne Brontë', 'What You Please', 'July 25th. 1840'. This picture was almost certainly drawn while Anne was at Scarborough during her first summer with the Robinson family. One of Anne's biographers, Edward Chitham, suggests that the picture may be symbolic of 'herself, poised nervously on the edge of a new life'. He also suggests that the title may have been a common phrase of her emPortrait of a Young Girl

12 September 1843
Signed and dated - 'Anne Brontë September 12th. 1843'. This water-colour was painted at Thorp Green where Anne was governess to the Robinson children. She presented it to Mrs. Robinson's confidential maid - Ann Marshall, and it still remains with her family today - the present owner is a descendant.
ployer, Mrs. Robinson: 'You may do what you please Miss Brontë.'

Roe Head

This now is part of Hollybank Special School, and the modern chapel is on the right. The blue plaque reads: Roe Head - Built on land bought from the Armytage Kamily of Kirklees Hall in the mid-17C and rebuilt in 1740. The building became a school in 1830, attended by the Brontë sisters, Charlotte, 1831-32, Emily, 1836, Anne 1836-7. Charlotte returned in July 1835 as a teacher. Headmistress of the school was Margaret Wooler (Mrs Prior in Shirley) and Charlotte's Friends at school were Ellen Nussey and Mary Taylor (Caroline Helstone and Rose Yorke in Shirley).

Ellen Nussey (1817 - 1897)

Ellen Nussey has claim to great fame within the Brontë circles, and this she owes to nothing more than her close friendship with the three sisters. Her first encounter with the Brontës was when she met Charlotte while both were pupils at Roe Head School in 1831, and this led to their life-long friendship. She subsequently became one of the few 'close' friends of both Anne and Emily. In May 1849, at Anne's request, she accompanied her and Charlotte on, what turned out to be, the ill-fated visit to Scarborough.
Anne's letter to Ellen Nussey.

As Ellen lived to the ripe old age of 80, dying in 1897, she has been one of the most valuable sources of biographical information on the Brontë family, and in particular on Anne.

Ellen's early home where she lived until September 1836. Charlotte visited Ellen here in September 1832: she was escorted by Branwell, who, being so overwhelmed by the beauty of the place, told Charlotte he was leaving her 'in paradise'. After the death of Ellen's father, the family had to move to the much more modest 'Brookroyd' - seen in the photograph on the right. Charlotte visited here on many occasions, and it was in this house where she corrected her proof-sheets of Jane Eyre - yet we are still told that Ellen, at this point and beyond, had no knowledge of Charlotte's novel writing! Ellen invited Anne to visit and spend some time here, but for one reason or another - possibly Anne's shyness and inability to socialise - the visit never took place.

Above: taken around 1855.

The photograph above was taken during the last few years of Ellen's life (around the mid -1890s).

The Nussey family tomb stands solitary in front of St Peter's Church, Birstall. This building is said to have been the model for 'Briarfield Church' in Charlotte's novel, Shirley.

Elizabeth Firth

Elizabeth Firth, born in 1797, welcomed the Brontës to Thornton when they arrived in 1815: the Firths subsequently formed a close friendship with Patrick and Maria. Elizabeth became one of the two godmothers of Anne (the other was Elizabeth's friend, Fanny Outhwaite). After Maria's death, Patrick made a proposal of marriage to Elizabeth: she declined, but the family friendship remained intact, and she continued to take an active interest in the Brontë children's welfare. In September 1825 she married the Reverend James Franks, vicar of St. Paul's church in Huddersfield. This was only about five miles away from Roe Head School, and on 17 June 1836, at the commencement of the girls' summer holidays, Charlotte and Anne went to stay, for a week, with the Franks at the Huddersfield vicarage. The girls were not totally enthusiastic about the visit as, naturally, they were anxious to return home to Haworth. Patrick pressured them a little to accept the Franks' invitation: he had earlier written to the Franks over his daughters' visit: 'I esteem it a high privilege that they should be under your roof, for a time - where, I am sure, they will see, and hear nothing, but what, under Providence, must necessarily tend, to their best interest, in both the worlds . . .'. Juliet Barker reports: 'The eldest child, John Firth Franks, recollected that Charlotte never spoke to him during the whole time she was there though Anne brought toys to him in the nursery.' 55n Elizabeth Franks died in September 1837 at the age of 40.


Maria Brontë (nee Branwell)

This is one of the only two known portraits of Anne's mother. She was born, and spent her early life, in Penzance, Cornwall; but met Patrick in Hartshead, Yorkshire, while she was in the area helping her aunt with the domestic side of running a school. Maria was 29 when she married Patrick; the wedding taking place on 29 December 1812 at Guiseley's parish church. Between the years 1814 and 1820 she gave birth to their six children, the last one being Anne; and died, of cancer (believed to be of the uterus), on 15 September 1821 aged 38. Anne was only 20 months old at this time.

Penzance en Maria Branwell.

Na de dood van haar vader werd Chapel street eigendom van haar broer Richard, de eigenaar van de Golden Lion Inn.
Het gezin van zijn broer mocht er blijven wonen, zelfs toen zijn schoonzuster een jaar later oerleed. De drie zussen bleven er wonen
(Maria 26 jr, Elisabeth 33 jr en Charlotte 18 jr). In 1812 overleed Richard. Charlotte trouwde haar neef, Richard's zoon Joseph en Maria verhuisde naar Yorkshire om bij een oom en tante te gaan wonen

The oldest part of Penzance is the quay. From here it extended up what is now Chapel Street which is rich in history and contains an eclectic mix of buildings and businesses. Most of the street dates back to the mid 18th century but there are a few reminders of the more distant past.

Just up from St Mary's is a small row of houses - what makes these unusual is they are constructed from bricks and not granite as most of the buildings in Penzance are. They were built in the late 18th century and referred to as Rotterdam Buildings as it is said they were built with money from Dutch prizes taken by a Penzance privateer. At the time brick was regarded as being of higher status than granite.

It is in one of these houses(no. 25)

that Maria Branwell lived - she was the mother of  Charlotte, Anne, Emily and Branwell Bronte. Chapel Street has the old inns, The Turks Head and the Admiral Benbow, it is also the street where Maria Branwell, the aunt of the Bronte sisters was born.


vrijdag 19 juni 2009

Clergy Daughters' School, Cowan Bridge

The former Clergy Daughters' School, Cowan Bridge, near Ingleton, North Yorkshire. Charlotte Brontë made it the "Lowood School" of Jane Eyre.

De meisjes moesten zijn uitgerust met
vier daghemden
drie nachthemden
drie slaapmutsen
twee keurslijfjes
twee flanellen, een grijze wollen en drie witte bovenrokken
twee stel zakken
vier paar witte katoenen kousen
drie paar zwart kamgaren kousen
nanking jasje
vier bruine en twee witte linnen schorten
handschoenen en klompen voor buiten
korte gekleurde ochtenjas
twee paar schoenen
Jurken, kapothoeden en mantels werden door de school verstrekt.

Strengheid, onhygienische toestanden in de keuken, lange godsdienstoefeningen. Vooral in de beginjaren van de school werden veel meisjes ziek.

Maria en Elisabeth worden ook ziek, 'lage koorts" een soort tyfus, veroorzaakt door de onhygienische toestanden in de keuken.
Thuis overlijden zij, Maria 6-5-1925, Elisabeth 18-06-1825.


The Anne and Emily Diaries

1834 Monday

Emily Jane Brontë

Anne Brontë

I fed Rainbow, Diamond, Snowflake Jasper phesant (alias this morning Branwell went down to Mr. Drivers's and brought news that Sir Robert peel was going to be invited to stand for Leeds Anne and I have been peeling apples for Charlotte to make an apple pudding and for Aunt's [? - unreadable] . . and apple Charlotte said she made puddings perfectly and she was of a quick but lim[i]ted intellect Taby said just now come Anne pillopuate (ie pill [peel] a potato Aunt has come into the kitchen just now and said where are you feet Anne Anne answered onthe on the floor Aunt papa opened the parlour Door and said B gave Branwell a Letter saying here Branwell read this and show it to your Aunt and Charlotte - The Gondals are disc discovering the interior of Gaaldine
Sally mosley is washing in the back kitchin

It is past Twelve o'clock Anne and I have not tid[i]ed ourselvs, done our bed work or done our lessons and we want to go out to play We are going to have for dinner Dinner Boiled Beef Turnips potato's and applepudding the Kitchin is in avery untidy state Anne and I have not Done our music exercise which consists of b majer Taby said on my putting a pen in her face Ya pitter pottering there instead of pilling a potate I answered O Dear, O Dear, O Dear I will derectly with that I get up, take a Knife and begin pilling (finished pilling the potatos papa going to walk Mr Sunderland expected

Anne and I say I wonder what we shall be like if all be well and what we shall be and where we shall be this year if all goes on well in the year 1874 -- in which year I shall be in my 57th year Anne will be going in her 55th year Branwell will be going in his 58th year And Charlotte in her 59th year hoping we shall all be well at that time We close our paper

Emily and Anne November the 24 1834


Monday evening June 26th 1837.
A bit past 4 o'clock, Charlotte working in Aunts room, Branwell reading Eugene Aram to her - Anne and I writing in the drawing-room - Anne a poem beginning 'fair was the evening and brightly the sun' - I Agustus Almeda's life 1st vol - 4th page from the last. A fine rather coolish then grey cloudy but sunny day. Aunt working in the little room [the old Nursery], papa gone out. Tabby in the Kitchen. The Emperors and Empresses of Gondal and Gaaldine preparing to depart from Gaaldine to Gondal to prepare for the coronation which will be on the 12th of July. Queen Victoria ascended the throne this month. Northangerland in Monkeys Isle - Zamorna at Eversham. All tight and right in which condition it is to be hoped we shall all be on this day 4 years at which time Charllote will be 25 and 2 months - Branwell just 24 it being his birthday - myself 22 and 10 months and a piece, Anne 21 and nearly a half. I wonder where we shall be and how we shall be, and what kind of a day it will be then, let us hope for the best.

Emily Jane Brontë - Anne Brontë

Up the side of the paper Emily added a little more to the diary, presumably relating to the conversation that followed:

I guess that this day 4 years we shall all be in this drawing-room comfortable, I hope it may be so. Anne guesses we shall all be gone somewhere together comfortable, we hope it may be either.

At this point it seems that 'Aunt' [Elizabeth] entered the room, and Emily recorded the conversation:

Aunt: "Come Emily, its past 4 o'clock."
Emily: - "Yes Aunt." [Aunt leaves the room]
Anne: "Well, do you intend to write in the evening?"
Emily: "Well, what think you?"
(We agreed to go out 1st to make sure, if we get into a humour we may stay . . . )


July the 30th, A.D. 1841.

This is Emily's birthday. She has now completed her 23rd year, and is, I believe, at home. Charlotte is a governess in the family of Mr. White. Branwell is a clerk in the railroad station at Luddenden Foot, and I am a governess in the family of Mr Robinson. I dislike the situation and wish to change it for another. I am now at Scarborough. My pupils are gone to bed and I am hastening to finish this before I follow them.

We are thinking of setting up a school of our own, but nothing definite is settled about it yet, and we do not know whether we shall be able to or not. I hope we shall. And I wonder what will be our condition and how or where we shall all be on this day four years hence; at which time, if all be well, I shall be 25 years and 6 months old, Emily will be 27 years old, Branwell 28 years and 1 month, and Charlotte 29 years and a quarter. We are now all separate and not likely to meet again for many a weary week, but we are none of us ill that I know of, and all are doing something for our own livelihood except Emily, who, however, is as busy as any of us, and in reality earns her food and raiment as much as we do.

How little know we what we are
How less what we may be!

Four years ago I was at school. Since then I have been a governess at Blake Hall, left it, come to Thorp Green, and seen the sea and York Minster. Emily has been a teacher at Miss Patchett's school, and left it. Charlotte has left Miss Wooler's, been a governess at Mrs Sidgwick's, left her, and gone to Mrs White's. Branwell has given up painting, been a tutor in Cumberland, left it, and became a clerk on the railroad. Tabby has left us, Martha Brown has come in her place. We have got Keeper, got a sweet little cat and lost it, and also got a hawk. Got a wild goose which has flown away, and three tame ones, one of which has been killed. All these diversities, with many others, are things we did not expect or foresee in the July of 1837. What will the next four years bring forth? Providence only knows. But we ourselves have sustained very little alteration since that time. I have the same faults that I had then, only I have more wisdom and experience, and a little more self-possession than I then enjoyed. How will it be when we open this paper and the one Emily has written? I wonder whether the Gondalians will still be flourishing, and what will be their condition. I am now engaged in writing the fourth volume of Solala Vernon's Life.

For some time I have looked upon 25 as a sort of era in my existence. It may prove a true presentiment, or it may be only a superstitious fancy; the latter seems most likely, but time will show.

Anne Brontë.


Thursday, July the 31st, 1845. Yesterday was Emily's birthday, and the time when we should have opened our 1841 paper, but by mistake we opened it today instead. How many things have happened since it was written - some pleasant, some far otherwise. Yet I was then at Thorp Green, and now I am only just escaped from it. I was wishing to leave it then and if I had known that I had four years longer to stay how wretched I should have been; but during my stay I have had some very unpleasant and undreamt of experience of human nature. Others have seen more changes. Charlotte has left Mr White's and been twice to Brussels, where she stayed each time nearly a year. Emily has been there too, and stayed nearly a year. Branwell has left Luddenden Foot, and been a tutor at Thorp Green, and had much tribulation and ill health. He was very ill on Thursday, but he went with John Brown to Liverpool, where he is now, I suppose; and we hope he will be better and do better in future. This is a dismal, cloudy wet evening. We have had so far a very cold, wet summer. Charlotte has lately been to Hathersage, in Derbyshire, on a visit of three weeks to Ellen Nussey. She is now sitting sewing in the dining-room. Emily is ironing upstairs. I am sitting in the dining-room in the rocking-chair before the fire with my feet on the fender. Papa is in the parlour. Tabby and Martha are, I think, in the kitchen. Keeper and Flossy are, I do not know where. Little Dick is hopping in his cage. When the last paper was written we were thinking of setting up a school. The scheme has been dropt, and long after taken up again, and dropt again, because we could not get pupils. Charlotte is thinking about getting another situation. She wishes to go to Paris. Will she go? She has let Flossy in, by-the-by, and he is now lying on the sofa. Emily is engaged in writing the Emperor Julius's life. She has read some of it, and I very much want to hear the rest. She is writing some poetry, too. I wonder what it is about. I have begun the third volume of Passages in the Life of an Individual, I wish I had finished it. This afternoon I began to set about making my grey figured silk frock that was dyed at Keighley. What sort of a hand shall I make of it? E. and I have a great deal of work to do. When shall we sensibly diminish it? I want to get a habit of early rising. Shall I succeed? We have not yet finished our Gondal Chronicles that we began three years and a half ago. When will they be done? - The Gondals are at present in a sad state. The Republicans are uppermost, but the Royalists are not quite overcome. The young sovereigns with their brothers and sisters are still at the Palace of Instruction. The Unique Society, about half a year ago, were wrecked on a desert island as they were returning from Gaaldine. They are still there, but we have not played at them much yet. The Gondals in general are not in first rate playing condition - will they improve?
I wonder how we shall all be, and where and how situated, on the thirtieth of July 1848, when, if we are all alive, Emily will be just 30. I shall be in my 29th year, Charlotte in her 33rd, and Branwell in his 32nd; and what changes shall we have seen and known; and shall we be much changed ourselves? I hope not, for the worse at least. I for my part cannot well be flatter or older in mind than I am now. Hoping for the best, I conclude.

Anne's Sea-view From Wood's Lodgings

Taken from the main balcony of the Grand Hotel; this is the view Anne would have had looking slightly to the left through her Wood's Lodgings room window.
Extracts from Ellen Nussey's account of Anne's last night: 'The evening closed in with the most glorious sunset ever witnessed. The castle on the cliff stood in proud glory, gilded by the rays of the declining sun . . . The view was grand beyond description. Anne was drawn in her easy chair to the window, to enjoy the scene with us. Her face became illumined almost as much as the glorious scene she gazed upon . . . '

Anne 'passed a reasonable night' but died at 2 p.m. the following afternoon.

On the skyline, extreme left, is St. Mary's Church, where Anne is buried; below it can be seen a building with a yellow and red front - this is the Futurist Theatre, and just to the right and beyond this is a white/red coloured building which is currently Corrigan's Amusement Arcade - at the foot of Bland's Cliff. From 1868 to the early 1900s this building housed the sea-front 'indoor seawater baths' (25K / 21K / 19K). Prior to 1868, and through the period when Anne visited Scarborough, these baths were located 'this side' of the Futurist Theatre (the site is indicated by a white asterisk in the photograph). In the concluding section of Anne's novel, Agnes Grey, Agnes resides at a seaside resort that Anne names only as 'A------', but is clearly identifiable as Scarborough. She gives a graphic description of Scarborough's South Bay, and mentions the 'water-cart' fetching the sea water for the baths.29n'
On the extreme right is the Spa Bridge.



Filey had a population of around five hundred in 1801, at which time it was a fishing village straddling the border between the North and East Riding of Yorkshire. With the coming of the railways in 1847 Filey began to grow into a holiday resort, attracting many of the gentry. Amongst the visitors was Charlotte Bronte who stayed at Cliff House, which is now the Bronte Café.

The Bronte sisters loved the East Coast. They stayed in Bridlington, Filey and Scarborough.
Anne, the youngest of the Brontes, set the ending of her novel Agnes Grey at Scarbor-ough, where she had enjoyed holidays while governess to the Robinson family between 1841 and 1845. The family lived near Knaresborough and Anne first holidayed in Scarborough with them.
They took furnished rooms in "the best part of town", St Nicholas Cliff. Anne was delighted with the sea and the castle towering over North and South bays. She wrote: "Refreshed, delighted, invigorated, I walked along forgetting all my cares, feeling as if I had wings on my feet, and could go at least 40 miles without fatigue, and experiencing a sense of invigoration to which I had been an entire stranger since the days of early youth ... the sea was my delight."

She then went on to stay at Cliff House, Filey. Although it is easy to trace where she stayed, it is not so easy to follow her to the neglected little church, which may have been at Muston, she attended one Sunday. She described it as: "... not more than thrice the length and breadth of our passage, floored in brick, the walls green with time and decay. At one end there is a little gallery for the singers and when these personages stood up to perform they turned their backs on pulpit and parson."
Charlotte's first visit to the region was in 1821 when she was invited to come and stay at the coast by her school friend Ellen Nussey.
Charlotte was so moved by the sea that on her return home she wrote: "... the glories of the sea, the sound of its restless waves, formed a subject for much contemplation that never wearied either the eye, the ear or mind". filey

Mail coach:

-The official mail coaches, which plied a certain route carrying mail and passengers with stops at specific coaching Inns on the way. They are very large coaches with a seat for the driver in front and additional seats for passengers on top and at the rear. Usually pulled by a team of six horses, which are changed at the regular post stops so they can run all the way.

Mail Coaches

Fast mail coaches were introduced in 1784, with recognized mail routes coming into existence soon afterwards. Stage and mail coaches were alike in build, carrying four inside passengers and ten or twelve outsides. Mail bags were piled high on the roof and luggage was stowed in large receptables called "boots" at either end of the vehicle. There was an extra charge for the box seat next to the coachman, as this was considered to be a desirable place, especially for those interested in horseflesh and driving. Mail coaches, which were subsidized by the Post Office, were uniformly painted, the lower part of the body being chocolate or mauve; the upper part, the fore and hind boots painted black; the wheels and under carriage a vivid scarlet. The Royal Arms were emblazoned n the doors, the Royal cipher in gold upon the fore boot and the number of the vehicle on the hind boot.

The departure of the Mails was one of the most exciting sights in London. On its' outward journey, each coach collected passengers from whatever inn the vehicle was horsed at, and then dashed round at 8 p.m. to the post office in St. Martin's le Grand to collect the mail. Coaches were called by name to receive their bags and the crash of the lid of the boot being locked down on the special mails was the signal for each coach to speed away. Fast Stage and Mail coaches made their journeys at about the same speed. It took 5 hours to Brighton, 17 to Exeter and 21 to Liverpool. This worked out to an average speed of ten miles per hour. The change of horses at each fresh stage was made quickly. Hostlers and stable boys were allowed a minute in which to take out the old horses and harness up a fresh team, though some could manage the job in 50 seconds!

trein, railway

Introduction of steam

In 1812 the Middleton Steam Railway became the first commercial railway to successfully use steam locomotives. John Blenkinsop the colliery's viewer, or manager, had decided that an engine light enough not to break the cast iron track would not have sufficient adhesion, bearing in mind the heavy load of coal wagons and the steep track gradient. Accordingly he relaid the track on one side with a toothed rail, which he patented in 1811 (the first rack railway), and approached Matthew Murray of Fenton, Murray and Wood, in Holbeck, to design a locomotive with a pinion which would mesh with it. Murray's design was based on Richard Trevithick's Catch me who can, adapted to use Blenkinsop's rack and pinion system, and was called The Salamanca.

Haworth Village is just a short walk away from the Railway station. The area is rather hilly and the easiest pedestrian route to the Parsonage and Old Village is to go out of the station, over the railway footbridge and straight up the cobbled lane.

Step back in time and enjoy a train ride through the heart of Brontë country. Most services are operated by steam trains, but the railway also serves the local community, with many people using the morning diesel railcar services to do their shopping in Keighley.

The steep gradient up the Worth Valley from the Keighley terminus has been a challenge for locomotives ever since the line opened on 15th April 1867. The sound of a steam engine tackling this climb echoes from the steep sides of the valley, while great clouds of steam and smoke add drama to the scene. Many of the woollen mills that once stood close to the line have been demolished, but a few remain as reminders that the textile industry was the reason why the line was built. Like the railway, the mills relied on coal, and the trains were able to bring hundreds of tons up the valley each week to keep the looms working by steam power. The five mile journey is a powerful reminder of our industrial heritage, as well as being a unique way of enjoying the beautiful countryside immortalised by Charlotte, Emily and Anne Brontë.

This 1812 locomotive was the first to use two cylinders. These drove the pinions through cranks which were at right angles, so that the engine would start wherever it came to rest.

The line thus entered the history books, in 1812, for it was first to operate successfully, and with three more locos built later, remained in use for another twenty years. In 1881 the railway was converted to 4 ft 8+1⁄2 in (1,435 mm) standard gauge.

Keighley railway station serves the town of Keighley in West Yorkshire, England.

First opened in 1847 by the Leeds and Bradford Extension Railway (although rebuilt on the present site in 1875), the station is located on the Airedale Line 17 miles (27 km) north west of Leeds. It is managed by Northern Rail, who operate most of the passenger trains serving it. Electric trains operate frequently from Keighley towards Bradford Forster Square, Leeds and Skipton. Longer distance trains on the Leeds to Morecambe Line and Settle to Carlisle Line also call here.

Keighley is also the northern terminus of the Keighley and Worth Valley Railway. This is a heritage branch-line railway run by volunteers that was originally built by the Midland Railway and opened in 1867.


donderdag 18 juni 2009


A rarely seen portrait of Anne: shown here is a restored version of a painting by her brother Patrick Branwell Brontë produced when Anne was aged about fifteen.
Along with the other aspects of restoration performed on this image, I have returned Anne's eyes to their natural blue colour. This pigment seems to have faded in the original painting. Many years after Anne's death, the Brontë sisters' life long friend, Ellen Nussey, described Anne as having 'lovely violet blue eyes'.

by Charlotte Brontë.
Signed and dated by Charlotte - 'April 17th. 1833': Anne was thirteen when it was drawn. Many years later, this portrait was described as 'an excellent likeness of Anne Brontë' by two of Martha Brown's sisters. Martha Brown had worked for the Brontës as a servant for twenty-three years: her father was the Haworth sexton and he lived, with his family, just a little way down the lane from the Parsonage.

by Charlotte Brontë c. 1833
This portrait is not dated, but the style is similar to Charlotte's paintings of 1832/33 and is suspected of being from around that time - once again, when Anne was about thirteen. This particular portrait was owned by Ellen Nussey until her death in 1897.

by Charlotte Brontë
Signed and dated by Charlotte - 'June 17th. 1834', making Anne fourteen at the time of this painting.

Tracing of Anne Brontë
This tracing of Anne was produced from the 'Gun Group' portrait - an oil painting by Branwell, created in 1834, of his three sisters and himself . The only section of this portrait still surviving is that showing Emily (currently displayed in the National Portrait Gallery, London). Charlotte's husband, Arthur Bell Nicholls, destroyed the remainder of the picture believing the likenesses of the other three to be so poor. John Greenwood, the Haworth stationer who supplied the Brontës with their manuscript paper; produced, from the portrait, tracings of each of the three sisters. This must have been done sometime before 1861. At the bottom of this portrait he has written 'Anne Bronte, 14th year of her age'.

This is another sketch by Charlotte: Edward Chitham, one of Anne's biographers, believes it may be a fifth portrait of Anne - possibly as a young woman; though others suspect it was drawn around 1831 - when Anne would have been only eleven. When it was sold in 1886 it was described as being possibly 'the pencil drawing of the head and bust of her sister Anne'. It appeared in another sale in 1898 when it was described as 'Annie Brontë by C. Brontë'. Although the evidence is inconclusive, it does bear some resemblance to Anne and seems to conform with Charlotte's description in her letter of 20 January 1842 - 'Anne is so quiet, her look so downcast.'


In memory of Emily and Charlotte Bronte, The Moors

The Bluebell is the sweetest flower
That waves in summer air:
Its blossoms have the mightiest power
To soothe my spirit's care.

There is a spell in purple heath
Too wildly, sadly dear;
The violet has a fragrant breath,
But fragrance will not cheer,

The trees are bare, the sun is cold,
And seldom, seldom seen;
The heavens have lost their zone of gold,
And earth her robe of green.

And ice upon the glancing stream
Has cast its sombre shade;
And distant hills and valleys seem
In frozen mist arrayed.

The Bluebell cannot charm me now,
The heath has lost its bloom;
The violets in the glen below,
They yield no sweet perfume.

[ page ]
But, though I mourn the sweet Bluebell,
'Tis better far away;
I know how fast my tears would swell
To see it smile to-day.

For, oh! when chill the sunbeams fall
Adown that dreary sky,
And gild yon dank and darkened wall
With transient brilliancy;

How do I weep, how do I pine
For the time of flowers to come,
And turn me from that fading shine,
To mourn the fields of home!

Gomersal, The Red House, Mary Taylor

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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