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

donderdag 14 februari 2013

Elizabeth Gaskell's Manchester home to get £2.5m restoration

Heritage Lottery Fund grant will help restore villa where Cranford and North & South were written back to its Victorian splendour.
The Manchester home of Elizabeth Gaskell, the Victorian novelist and short story writer, is to be restored thanks to a Heritage Lottery Fund grant of £1.85m. The house, which dates from the 1830s, had stood empty for several years and was on English Heritage's register of buildings at risk.

Although little original furniture belonging to the Gaskells remains, the Gaskell Society has carried out extensive research into what the family owned, and will be filling the house with appropriate Victorian pieces, and authentic wallpaper and decorations. As well as being open to the public, the building will also be used for concerts, and available for corporate hospitality to help pay for the running costs.

The house was occupied by the Gaskell family from 1850 until the death of Meta Gaskell, Elizabeth's second daughter, in 1913.

In 1850, in a letter to her friend Eliza Fox, Elizabeth Gaskell wrote:
We've got a house. Yes! We really have. And if I had neither conscience nor prudence I should be delighted, for it certainly is a beauty... You must come and see us in it, dearest Tottie, and make me see 'the wrong the better cause' and that it is right to spend so much ourselves on so purely a selfish thing as a house is, while so many are wanting.
The house's seven bedrooms may have explained the relatively high rent of £150 a year – at the time her husband William Gaskell's income as a priest was £300 a year. Elizabeth joked that the expense of the house would bankrupt them:
My dear! It's £150 a year, and I dare say we shall be ruined; and I've already asked after the ventilation of the new Borough Gaol. . guardian/elizabeth-gaskell-manchester-house-restored

Valentine Day

I wrote to the facebook page of the Bronte Parsonage museum and asked about photographes of the new decorated Museum. The answer is: ""We're having some new pix shot shortly, then they'll be going up"". I really am surprised that there is not a big marketing campaign, with beautiful photo- and video material of the new situation. The re-opening was such a good moment to show ""the world"" what is going on.  
Because I don't have new material  I use a photograph of the old situation. I was looking for some Valentine material and came across this page:
Above is the room in Haworth Parsonage where the Bronte sisters lived and wrote. Friend of Charlotte Bronte and fellow novelist Elizabeth Gaskell, described the room as “…the perfection of warmth, snugness and comfort, crimson predominating in the furniture.” With Valentine’s Day fast approaching I could think nothing more appropriate than to take inspiration from the room where Jane Eyre, Wuthering Heights, Villette and other love stories were penned, cozy and crimson by the fire.
Look on this page for more CRIMSON colours, the colour Charlotte loved so much: Decorwrite.
The beautiful story of William Weightman and his Valentine Card.
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:
The girls were not to be fooled by the Bradford post-mark, and soon realised that the chirpy curate was the guilty party.

'I have stings of Conscience, visitings of remorse, glimpses of holy

There's an article in the 'Antiques Trade Gazette' dated Feb 3 which describes the six letters recently discovered tipped into a first edition of Elizabeth Gaskell's 'Life of Charlotte Bronte' as 'the best Bronte lot of the year'. The same ...lot we were hugely privileged to be able to win at auction, with help from the National Heritage Memorial Fund.
Written to her friend Ellen Nussey during a time of terrible stress in Charlotte's life while utterly miserable and working at Roe Head School, they describe how she tried so hard to find a little comfort in her life by turning to God, of inexpressible things which formerly I used to be a stranger to - it may all die away and I may be in utter midnight but I implore a merciful Redeemer that if this be the real dawn of the Gospel it may still brighten to perfect day.'
We are delighted to report the letters are now on display in the the corner case of Charlotte's room. If you can, come and see them! facebook/Bronte-Parsonage-Museum

maandag 11 februari 2013

Clothes and accessories

Still no pictures of the newly decorated Parsonage. But I found this picture of the old situation.
Clothes and accessories worn by Charlotte Bronte on display in her old bedroom at the Bronte Parsonage Museum  /Bronte+Museum+Former+Home+Famed+Bronte+Sisters/


“I had green eyes, reader.”

What makes a gothic fairy tale about a plain governess so raw and exhilarating?

FAVOURITE TRICK Addressing us individually, as in “Reader, I married him.” It puts us on intimate terms, but also allows for some sly asides. When Mr Rochester, besotted, compliments Jane on her “radiant hazel eyes”, she deadpans, “I had green eyes, reader.”
Read more: charlotte-brontes-silent-revolt

"There is no life higher than the grasstops": A Walk to Withens

From: sylviaplathinfo/there-is-no-life-higher-than-grasstops

The following is a guest blog post by Gail Crowther on visiting Haworth and Top Withens, Yorks, England. Thank you Gail!

Haworth and Top Withens feature in a number of Plath's poems, letters and journal entries along with pieces of published and unpublished prose. Most of her writing stresses the lonely and blustering nature of the place – blackened gravestones paving the ground in front of the Brontë Parsonage, withered trees, open moors of heather and sheep, a tumble-down building clinging to the moor side at Top Withens. In an account of a Withens walk published in The Christian Science Monitor on 6 June 1959 (12), Plath describes there being "as many ways to get to Withens as there are compass points" (12). Yet she had just tried two approaches – one from the town of Haworth and another across the moors from Heptonstall. Last weekend, I walked to Withens from Haworth. No dour skies or lonely howling winds accompanied us as we trecked from town to moor, but rather a blistering sun and a warm wind that took the edge off the May heat-wave. I have been to Withens twice before, both in much sterner weather more fitting for the supposed inspiration of Wuthering Heights. It is always an odd experience as I feel myself following the traces of two women writers years apart – Plath following Emily Brontë and me following Plath following Emily Brontë. Much is unchanged – the beginning of the moor spreads away from Haworth behind Penistone Hill gradually becoming browner and increasingly bare. The "grandmotherly" sheep still graze amongst grass and heather. Staring into their eyes is still like "being mailed into space." READ MORE ON THE BLOG

Emily Bronte's chemise, Anne's songbook

One of Emily Bronte's chemises
In my search to pictures of the newly decorated Parsonage
I came across the name of Sarah May Laycock
Library and Collections Officer of the Parsonage Museum
When I ""googled"" her I saw these pictures

 Library and collections officer Sarah Laycock holds Anne Bronte’s songbook from the Bronte Relics exhibition

zondag 10 februari 2013

Mr Brontë's Study has been distempered in plain white, because no evidence could be found that it was ever papered

Ann Dinsdale, acting director of the Bronte Society, in Patrick Bronte's study at the Parsonage Museum

Old situation
This is the only picture I can find of the new situation till now
I keep on searching

I am a little suprised that the walls are painted white because I always believed the walls were dove coloured.
Ellen Nussey, visiting Haworth for the first time some twenty years earlier, also found the Parsonage scrupulously clean but considerably more austere.
'There was not much carpet any where except in the Sitting room, and on the centre of the study floor. The hall floor and stairs were done with sand stone, always beautifully clean as everything about the house was, the walls were not papered but coloured in a pretty dove-coloured tint, hair-seated chairs and mahogany tables, book-shelves in the Study but not many of these elsewhere. Scant and bare indeed many will say, yet it was not a scantness that made itself felt . . .'

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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