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

vrijdag 20 april 2012

Rare artefacts from the lives of some of the world’s most celebrated writers and gathered from across the world will feature in a new exhibition as the Bronte Parsonage Museum, in Haworth, explores the story of its own collection.
Bronte Relics: A Collection History gives visitors an insight into how the collection was brought together and how it continues to grow as curators make new discoveries about the lives and works of famous novelist sisters.
It reveals how some treasures were traced through previous owners and collectors, then brought back to their home by the Bronte Society. The exhibition also looks at the major sources of Bronteana, such as items concerning Charlotte’s husband Arthur Bell Nicholls, her lifelong friend Ellen Nussey, the family of servant Martha Brown, and the American collector Henry Houston Bonnell.
Ann Dinsdale, collections manager at the Bronte Parsonage Museum, said: “On the Bronte’s deaths, everything was disposed of, with Charlotte’s widower taking a lot of manuscripts and personal items back to Ireland. Her close friend had a collection of letters and things such as clothing and books were given to the servants. Gradually, as each of the people with personal attachments to these items died off, it opened the floodgates for these things to fall into the hands private collectors.”
The exhibition runs until next March. There will be two special evening tours of the museum and its library on Wednesday, May 23 and 30, focusing on the history of the museum collection.
For further details, call            (01535) 642323      .the Telegraph and Argus

woensdag 18 april 2012

Another 'Brontë' auction

After selling two doubtful portraits of Emily Brontë (one and two), auctioneers JP Humbert are now selling this portrait of the 'Brontë sisters' (for a full discussion of the pros and cons of it actually showing the Brontës we suggest you grab something to eat/drink and read the comments of this post). The upcoming auction is reported by several news outlets, such as the Telegraph:
An auctioneer is hoping to score a hat-trick, selling a third item believed to be linked to the literary Bronte sisters.
The painting, thought to be a hitherto unknown watercolour of all three sisters, is the latest in the series of unrelated items concerning the trio to go under the hammer.
Believed to be painted by 19th century English artist Sir Edwin Landseer, it will be included in a two-day fine art and antiques sale later this month at J.P.Humbert Auctioneers in Northamptonshire. [...]
Auctioneer Jonathan Humbert said there was no estimate on the latest discovery as it was impossible to say how much it would fetch, but he was hoping for a third sale of a Bronte-related artefact.
Mr Humbert said the painting, which appears to show all three sisters, has been attributed by a team from the National Portrait Gallery as well as four years of research by the vendor.
He said there were 10 evidential reasons supporting the suggestion it is of the Bronte sisters, and said its quality suggested it could only be attributed to an artist of Landseer's distinction.
The piece of art is believed to be signed by Landseer, and matches known features of the sisters.
"This is an exciting and important painting of museum quality and has a story to tell," he said. "I hope the art world will embrace it accordingly.
"There really is every possibility this is by Landseer and of the three Bronte sisters." [...]
The latest painting relating to the sisters is set to go under the hammer on April 26 as part of a two-day fine art and antiques sale at J.P.Humbert's saleroom in Towcester, Northants. Bronte blog

maandag 16 april 2012

GASKELL AND THE BRONTËS Literary Manuscripts of Elizabeth Gaskell (1810-1865) and the Brontës from the Brotherton Library, University of Leeds

Writing to an autograph collector, Elizabeth  Gaskell’s widowed husband William regretted that no reliable likeness of her survived. ‘I’m  sorry  to  say  there  is  no  good  photograph  of  my  dear  wife’, Mr Gaskell wrote in August 1879, fourteen years after her death: ‘The only one, indeed, which exists … does not at all do her justice’. But if a photographic record of  Elizabeth Gaskell’s physical appearance has only inadequately been preserved, she left behind a substantial corpus of letters, many held in the Brotherton Library, and other personal writings, that provide a different, more convincing picture.
The collection of Elizabeth Gaskell’s correspondence is the largest in the world.  There are many letters to her daughters, Marianne (Polly), Margaret (Meta), Florence (Flossy) and Julia, and to her sisters-in-law, Eliza Holland and Nancy Robson.  These tell us much about her concerns, her views of literature, and her life at home with the Rev William Gaskell.
Particularly rich in nineteenth-century material, Lord Brotherton’s extraordinary collection included a major set of poetic manuscripts by Algernon Charles Swinburne (1837-1909) and associated correspondence. A substantial amount of material relating to Edmund Gosse (1849-1928) was given to the Library together with a considerable collection of manuscripts by the Brontë family, concentrating on those of the unhappy and ill-starred brother of the novelists, Branwell Brontë. The Brontë and Gaskell material – its purchase guided by W. J. Wise and Clement Shorter – formed already a significant collection when Lord Brotherton died and successive librarians at Leeds have added to it.
“a little lady in black silk gown, whom I could not see at first for the dazzle in the room; she came up & shook hands with me at once. I went up to unbonnet &c. came down to tea, the little lady worked away and hardly spoke; but I had time for a good look at her. She is (as she calls herself) undeveloped; thin and more than ½ a head shorter than I, soft brown hair not so dark as mine; eyes (very good and expressive looking straight & open at you) of the same colour, a reddish face; large mouth and many teeth gone; altogether plain; the forehead square, broad, and rather over-hanging. She has a very sweet voice, rather hesitates in choosing her expressions, but when chosen they seem without an effort, admirable and just befitting the occasion. There is nothing overstrained but perfectly simple.” Thus Elizabeth Gaskell’s first impression of Charlotte Brontë, whose controversial Life of Charlotte Brontë she would publish in  1857. Brontë appears under this scrutiny in poor condition – ‘tiny’, ‘reddish face’, missing teeth, undeveloped. Much of the rest of Gaskell’s account in the Winkworth correspondence dwells on the hardships of living at Haworth and with the ogre ..... Gaskell perceives as the half-mad Patrick Brontë. The seeds of her later sturdy criticism of the sisters’ home and father are obvious. Patrick, she told Catherine Winkworth, was subject to fits of rage which he visited in violence not on people but on household objects; he sawed up dining room chairs despite the pleas of his sobbing wife, he filled a room with choking smoke as he angrily burnt a hearthrug to exorcise some personal demon. He was, in Gaskell’s reckoning, a man utterly careless of  his children. He ‘never taught the girls anything’, she claimed, he barely expressed a word at the publication of Jane Eyre, and was indifferent to their comfort. ‘“At 19”’, Gaskell says Charlotte told her, ‘“I should have been thankful for an allowance of 1d [one penny] a week. I asked my father, but he said What did women want with money[?]”’
“… Have you heard that Harriet Martineau has sworn an eternal friendship with the author of Shirley, if not I’ll tell you. She sent Shirley to Harriet Martineau. H.M. acknowledged it in a note directed to Currer Bell Esq. - but inside written to a lady.Then came an answer requesting a personal interview. This was towards or about last Saturday week, and the time appointedwas 6 o’clock on Sunday Even[in]g and the place appointed was at Richard Martineau’s (married a Miss Needham) in HydePark Square, so Mr & Mrs R. Martineau and Harriet M. sat with early tea before them, awaiting six o’clock, & their mysterious
visitor, when lo! and behold, as the clock struck in walked a little, very little, bright haired sprite, looking not above 15, very unsophisticated, neat & tidy. She sat down & had tea with them, her name being still unknown; she said to H.M. ‘What do you really think of Jane Eyre’? H.M. I thought it a first rate book. Whereupon the little sprite went red all over with pleasure. After tea, Mr & Mrs R. M. withdrew, and left sprite to a 2 hours tête a tête with H.M. to whom she revealed her name & the history of her life. Her father a Yorkshire clergyman who has never slept out of his house for 26 years; she has lived a most retired life; - her first visit to London, never been in society and many other particulars which H.M is not at liberty to divulge any more than her name, which she keeps a profound secret; but Thackeray does not. H.M. is charmed with her; she is full of life and power &c. &c. & H.M. hopes to be of great use to her. There! that’s all I know, but I think it’s a pretty good deal, it’s something to have seen somebody who has seen nominis umbra. …”
A letter from CB to Mrs Smith, mother of her publisher (Smith, Elder & Co)  dated 1 July 1851
Extract: “She is a woman of many fine qualities and deserves the epithet which I find is generally applied to her - charming. Her family consists of four little girls - all more or less pretty and intelligent - these scattered throughout the rooms of a somewhat spacious house - seem to fill it with liveliness and gaiety.”
Elizabeth Gaskell. AMs describing her visit to Haworth, Sep 1853
Extracts: “We turned up a narrow bye lane near the church - past the curate’s, the schools & skirting the pestiferous churchyard we arrived at the door into the Parsonage yard. In I went, - half blown back by the wild vehemence of the wind which swept along the narrow gravel walk - round the corner of the house into a small plot of grass, enclosed within a low stone wall, over which the more ambitious grave-stones towered all round.”  “Miss Brontë gave me the kindest welcome, & the room looked the perfection of warmth, snugness & comfort, crimson predominating in the furniture….” “Before tea we had a long delicious walk right against the wind on Penistone Moor which stretches directly behind the Parsonage going over the hill in brown and purple sweeps and falling softly down into a little upland valley through which a ‘beck’ ran, & beyond again was another great waving hill, - and in the dip of that might be seen another yet more distant, & beyond that the said Lancashire came; but the sinuous hills seemed to girdle the world like the great Norse serpent, & for my part I don’t know if they don’t stretch up to the North Pole. On the moors we met no one. Here and there in the gloom of the distant hollows – with Scotch firs growing near them often, - & told me such wild tales of the ungovernable families who lived or had lived therein that Wuthering Heights seemed tame comparatively. Such dare-devil people, - men especially, - & women so stony and cruel in some of their feelings & so passionately fond in others. They are queer people up there.” GASKELL_and_THE_BRONTES

zondag 15 april 2012

What a beautiful film:LINES

.Lines is a short film written by Vivian Kerr and directed by Alexa Hann which has just finished post-production. The film will now enter the festival circuit and will probably be world premiered during the summer or early fall.
Dirty Robber and DK Productions
Directed by Alexa Hann
Screenplay by Vivian Kerr

Vivian Kerr ... Charlotte
Marion Kerr ... Emily
Kevin Stidham ... Arthur
Kevin Ashworth ... Man
Heleya de Barros ... Woman

Music by Sean Ganser and Steven Schroeder
Cinematography by Eric Hann
Film Editing by Aaron M. Noble
Production Design by Violeta Reina
Costume Design by Kimberly Gryder

 A short film about the complex relationship between Charlotte and Emily Brontë.
You can check Vivian Kerr's Kickstarter fundraising video (or read this article on Film Courage which basically says the same) where the actress, writer and producer explains her reasons to become so involved with the Brontë story. The film's website doesn't include too much information yet but you can check the film's Facebook wall(and the production photos). On YouTube several production videos can be found: On the setLocation scout and a sneak peek. And, of course, the first teaser trailer on the right. Bronte blog/lines

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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