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 18 februari 2012

The Bronte Sisters - A True Likeness?


 Two 'alleged' portraits of Emily Bronte have recently been entered in auctions
News of a third ‘Bronte portrait’ in almost as many months is certain to be viewed with a touch of scepticism. But this find is different. It is not a painting, but a photograph, and it claims to depict not one, but all three Sisters. As no photos exist – apart from one of Charlotte - this would be the first true likeness of the Bronte Sisters. 

If this were proved right it would be a truly remarkable find.Despite distinct similarities to the Sisters, and many tantalising clues, the photo still lacks that final piece of hard evidence. Because of this it remains unauthenticated.

The research is presented here to give members of the Bronte Society and Bronte researchers the opportunity to judge whether this is a genuine photograph. 

They may be able to correct errors or help with information.Hopefully at some stage in the future it will be either authenticated or dismissed as an image of the Bronte Sisters.

Research set off to a bad start. The Bronte Museum had never seen the photo and with no photos of Emily or Anne to compare, they couldn’t authenticate it. Experts thought it unlikely to be a copy of an 1840s photo. It was a real conundrum. 
Gradually, over twelve months, the history behind this photograph has yielded some of its secrets. Most of the initial questions have been answered, but it has created dozens more and further research could carry on for years.This website brontesistersphoto 
has been created to list the findings to date. The history of the Bronte Sisters merges into the history of photography and the results are quite intriguing. 

dinsdag 14 februari 2012

On this day in 1840. 'Fair Ellen, Fair Ellen', 'Away fond Love' and 'Soul divine'.


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' 
 '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.

maandag 13 februari 2012

The Red House has a charming homely feel to it and is so authentic that visitors can easily imagine Charlotte Brontë mingling with the Taylor family whom she loved. She said it was a happy house, full of laughter.

The Spenborough Guardian publishes a letter from a reader who was outraged at the suggested closure of the Red House Museum:
In their “Vision and Strategic Objectives” outlined in the LDF Core Strategy, planners promised to retain the characteristics of Kirklees which make it attractive. This involved, among other issues, safeguarding the “distinctive and contrasting landscapes and legacy of historic buildings within and around Kirklees’ towns and villages.
So much for promises. The historic landscape from the Three Nuns to Hartshead and Roberttown has been earmarked for the biggest industrial development in West Yorkshire; totally ignoring its beauty and its close proximity to Robin Hood’s grave, the ruins of Kirklees Priory, the historic Armytage Estate, the Luddite heritage footpath, and Roe Head (now Hollybank school) the school to which all three Brontë sisters attended and at which Charlotte Brontë taught. And totally ignoring the seven presentations put forward last November to the extraordinary meeting of Kirklees Council.
And then we had the unbelievable threat to the only museum in the Spen Valley! The Red House Museum is a very precious and iconic building.
Built in 1660 by a typical entrepreneurial Spen clothier, William Taylor, it is now actually furnished in the style of the 1830’s when Joshua and Anne Taylor regularly enjoyed the company of their daughter Mary’s friend Charlotte Brontë. The house has a charming homely feel to it and is so authentic that visitors can easily imagine Charlotte Brontë mingling with the Taylor family whom she loved.
She said it was a happy house, full of laughter. And many visitors have felt this; almost 30,000 last year alone. They come to wander round the house and garden and the outbuildings which can absorb them for an afternoon. The cart-shed houses a unique history of the Spen Valley, painstakingly collected over many years. The barn has a wonderful exhibition dedicated to Charlotte Brontë’s book Shirley, based around the Luddite story.
Visitors come from schools, colleges and universities and from locally and far afield. It is well and truly on the Brontë trail for national and international enthusiasts. They all receive a warm welcome from the dedicated staff. What a tourist destination!
Most of all it is one of the most important buildings which make up the Spen Valley’s heritage. It doesn’t take a lot of imagination to work out that this solution to saving money was a no-brainer.
Charlotte Brontë had another lifelong friend whom she met at Roe Head school – Ellen Nussey who lived near Birstall Smithies crossroads. Her home was the inspiration for Thornfield Hall in Jane Eyre. This is now swamped by a paint manufacturer’s. We cannot go on losing our heritage. And why was North Kirklees being targeted in this way. 
Grotere kaart weergeven

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.



Related Posts with Thumbnails