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 27 oktober 2012

The brown gown

I am not sure which sister this gown belonged to. I think it’s attributed to Charlotte but most gowns are, I had thought before I viewed it that it belonged to Emily as it’s quite narrow skirted and Emily is known to have worn narrow skirted gowns  but it seems a bit too small on the bodice to have been Emilys, its just  possible its Charlotte’s as she did wear brown but it just seems so unlike all the other gowns known to be Charlotte’s or described by those who knew her that I cant quite bring myself to belive it hers. I cant help but feel it might have belonged to  another of the sisters perhaps Anne, she was a similar build to Charlotte  and not that much taller. Hathaways of Haworth

vrijdag 26 oktober 2012

Charlotte Brontes Paisley Gown

This gown looks quite pretty when displayed in a glass case on a mannequin but up close it  is  utterly exquisite. I had expected it to be a  simple fine cotton lawn, very like liberty’s  Lawns,In reality the fabric is crisp and fresh but gossamer fine and as light as spiders silk,If you look carefully at the photo below you can just see the tape measure showing through the fabric. The whole dress weights barely anything. It’s also beautifully sewn and constructed and  in beautiful condition with no hemlines scuffing or pin marks etc. 

I think its possible it was professionally made but if not it speaks well for Charlotte’s sewing skills. I find it hard to belive it’s ever been worn and wonder if it was an unworn part of Charlotte’s trousseau or perhaps worn as an afternoon gown  briefly on one of Charlotte’s stays at the homes of rich friends or in London. I think it must have been bought after Charlotte’s income improved. There is a lot of fabric and that  fabric does not seem to be a cheap one as  besides being printed with a wide range of coloured dyes it also has a woven pattern of almost invisible stripes. Read on: Hathaways of Haworth

donderdag 25 oktober 2012

Charlotte Bronte' s dress which she used during her honeymoon tour.

Its a strange and moving item, the stiffness of the fabric and the gowns construction  almost creates an impression of an occupant and its strange to imagine what is now laid out with such care  on a table was once hung neatly upstairs with similar care waiting Charlotte’s arrival from her wedding at the nearby church and just a few hours later would have been clothing Charlotte as she walked happily out of the Parsonage door to start her Honeymoon tour .I suspect it arrived at its destination hours later rather less crisp and pristine than it now looks but  such is the case with all natural fabrics  and the gown was an eminently sensible choice for traveling.  Read more on: Hathaways of Haworth

Charlotte Bronte' s white wedding bonnet and veil as well as a replica of her wedding dress.

And for the record here are her white wedding bonnet and veil as well as a replica of her wedding dress

Of the third--the wedding-dress--I wholly decline the responsibility  It must be charged upon a sort of friendly compulsion or over-persuasion. Nothing would satisfy some of my friends but white which I told you I would not wear. Accordingly they dressed me in white by way of trial--vowed away their consciences that nothing had ever suited me so well--and white I had to buy and did buy to my own amazement--but I took care to get it in cheap material--there were some insinuations about silk, tulle and I don't know what--but I stuck convulsively to muslin--plain book muslin with a tuck or two. Also the white veil--I took care should be a matter of 5s being simply of tulle with little tucks. If I must make a fool of myself--it shall be on an economical plan.
~ Charlotte Brontë to Elizabeth Gaskell (?), early June 1854
What the journalist may be mistaking for her wedding dress is her going-away dress, which wasn't 'almost mauve' but which does now look dark mauve and is thought to have been lavender when new, not pink.
Read more: To her own amazement

woensdag 24 oktober 2012

A despicable act

The news about the theft at the Old Bell Chapel in Thornton is being featured by newspapers all over the globe such as the Libero Quotidiano (Italy) or the New York Daily News Page Views. But it is of course the British press that's discussing the matter more. From BBC News:
Church warden Steven Stanworth said he considered the thefts a desecration of the ground.
He said: "We are proud of our achievements in making Bronte Bell Chapel and surrounding graveyard a place where people can now visit to enjoy its history, beauty and nature.
"It is a historic site and it has been desecrated. This was a despicable and awful crime."
Police patrols were stepped up around the cemetery, opposite St James Church in Thornton Road, after the damage was discovered.
Det Insp Mark Long, from West Yorkshire Police, said: "This is quite clearly a despicable act which will cause great offence in the local community."
Bradford councillor Susan Hinchcliffe, who is responsible for tourism in the area, said history "had been thrown away".
Read more: A despicable act

dinsdag 23 oktober 2012

Romantic and Realistic Aspects in the Bronte Sisters’ Novels

This study chose the novels of the Bronte sisters as a literary specimen to test the different theories accounting for what falls within the scope of Realism and what of Romanticism. Why the Bronte sisters? Because they lived within the same family circle, hence have the same experiences and social circumstances. Similarity is enhanced by their femaleness. Their being siblings would overcome the ‘mistaken’ association between Romanticism-upper class of luxury and ivory towers and Realism-middle and lower classes of poverty and disease dichotomy, which is the first of melting,vanishing ‘dividing-lines.’ These three sisters produce three different literary renderings of somehow identical experiences (backgrounds).
Read on: is.muni.cz

Charlottes Brontes corset

I wanted to examine the corset because it is a well documented Bronte artifact and known to have definitely belonged to Charlotte so the measurements of the corset will be Charlotte’s. It will  therefore help not just to work out her build but also to clarify which gowns in the Parsonage collection are Charlotte’s and which can be reliably used to work out Charlotte’s fashion tastes. This will clarify which views in  the letters  she writes are in fact accurate reflections of Charlottes own views and what comments in the novels often used to illustrate her character are infact hers as this is usually assumed to be the case. However my closer examination of the corset has raised much wider issues concerning Charlottes mind-set, health and overall well being.
It is quite long early Victorian style with a number of quite sturdy bones, which may be whalebone or possibly steel and whalebone mix as one protruding bone looked like steel. I didnt want to be the person who ruined the Bronte corset so I didnt try to see what the give on the corset was but most steel boned modern corsets are decidedly inflexible (though this was lighter than modern ones). It also has a very wide but removable front busk which when worn would severely limit any  bending or leaning forward movements and has rather alarming health implications. 

Read more of this fascinating subject on:
Hathaways of Haworth

The pink Wrapper gown

Destroying their heritage

The Yorkshire Post reports a 'despicable theft' that has taken place at the Old Bell Chapel in Thornton:
POLICE are continuing to patrol an historic graveyard closely linked to the Bronte family after thieves desecrated it, stealing three ancient headstones which have been there for the past 200 years.
The damage at the Old Bell Chapel, also known as the Bronte Bell Chapel, opposite St James Church on Thornton Road, Bradford, was discovered over the weekend with police branding the theft “despicable”.
Up to 30 metres of Yorkshire stone was also stolen from a pathway in the graveyard next to the chapel where Patrick Bronte was minister between 1815 and 1820 before moving to nearby Haworth.
Officers patrolled the chapel on Saturday night after fears were raised the thieves would return for more stone slabs they had already removed and stacked up in the cemetery.
And last night, West Yorkshire Police said its officers would continue to pay special 
attention to the site during regular patrols.
Ann Dinsdale, acting director of the Bronte Society, condemned the thefts and said numerous sites connected to the family have been targeted in recent years, including Haworth Church which has had lead stripped from its roof.
“People need to be really vigilant, because when it is gone, it is gone,” she told the Yorkshire Post. “I just don’t know how you go about educating people that this is part of their heritage they are destroying.”
Destroying their heritage

Bronte dresses

Tomorrow I will show you
photographs published on

Allready from this weblog some information:
I have just started to edit my photos from todays session in the Bronte Parsonage. I was thrilled and privileged to be allowed access to several items of Bronte clothing at the Parsonage, a Brown gown, a pink gown, the going away gown and the Paisley gown and also the Corset. I choose these gowns as two, the Paisley gown and going away gown are well known and also have an excellent provenance and source references ( as does the corset). The pink and brown gowns are also mostly likely to be Bronte gowns though with less clear timelines and both have also been in display  at the Parsonage in the past.
I cannot wait to see tomorrow what is published om her weblog.

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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