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 4 september 2015

Museum buys-up Bronte paintings

Linda Pierson, a library research volunteer at the Brontë Parsonage Museum, examines Charlotte Brontë’s watercolours following their arrival at the Haworth museum.

TwO of Charlotte Brontë’s watercolours have been delivered to the Brontë Parsonage Museum ready for display next year. The Brontë Society, which runs the Haworth museum, bought the paintings in July during an auction at Sotheby’s. Experts have attributed both pictures to Charlotte, the writer of classic novel Jane Eyre and the eldest of the tragic Brontë sisters. The parsonage this week tweeted a picture of the watercolours on a desk at the museum, and said they will be handed to conservation staff so they can be prepared for display in 2016.

One watercolour is a study of a white carnation, and the other depicts a convolvulus, a crocus and an aster. The pictures were previously unknown and have never been on public display. They are connected to the Sidgwick family, for whom Charlotte Brontë worked as a governess in 1839. Charlotte is best known for writing novels, such as Jane Eyre, but her early ambition was to earn her living as an artist
She was an accomplished painter, but came to realise she did not have the necessary level of skill to have a career in this field. Literature experts said Charlotte’s ability to observe and accurately record detail was a valuable foundation for her written work and a contributing factor in her subsequent success as an author.   
Parsonage Museum collections manager, Ann Dinsdale, said staff are delighted to have acquired the two paintings for the museum. She added: “Although unsigned, they have excellent provenance and are stylistically similar to other Charlotte Brontë paintings already in the Brontë Society’s collection.
“We look forward to putting them on display in the Parsonage as part of Charlotte Brontë’s bicentenary celebrations next year.” The Brontë Society has also announced a major conference in Manchester as part of its celebrations for Charlotte’s 200th birthday. The event, at the Midland Hotel from August 19 to 21, will focus on the issue that most concerned Charlotte herself – the position of women in the mid-19th century. Speakers, who include famous feminist Professor Germaine Greer, will address the subject from many different angles, Other speakers include Prof Sally Shuttleworth, an expert on the medical and mental problems of women in the early Victorian era; Claire Harman, noted author of the new biography Charlotte Brontë, A Life; and Prof Christine Alexander, who is currently working on the first new scholarly edition of Jane Eyre in more than 40 years.

woensdag 2 september 2015

Charlotte Bronte and her 'dearest Nell'.

Thanks to  Nick Holland who posted on Twitter:                   

Wonderful portrait of Ellen Nussey in old age, the close & faithful friend of Charlotte, Emily & Anne
 I knew only two portraits of Ellen Nussey

Ellen Nussey first met her lifelong friend Charlotte Brontë in January 1831 at Miss Wooler’s school Roe Head, Mirfield, where they were both pupils. Ellen was 13 and Charlotte 14. She was a steady, conscientious and reliable friend for Charlotte, and the Reverend Patrick Brontë approved their friendship. Visiting the Parsonage often, she was soon also a friend of Anne and Emily. It was during her time at Roe Head that she began her correspondence with Charlotte, which lasted until the end of Charlotte’s life, and which is responsible for so much of what we know today of Charlotte’s life.

It doubtless meant something in her development that at an impressionable age Charlotte should have been introduced occasionally to a prosperous, and even luxurious environment. She loved Ellen Nussey, moreover, although she had no common ground of intellectual interest. Her letters to her are frequent, and they are always affectionate.

But Charlotte Bronte described the limitations of the friendship in a letter to W. S. Williams:

" " True friendship is no gourd, springing up in a night and withering in a day. When I first saw Ellen I did not care for her; we were schoolfellows. In course of time we learnt each other's faults and good points. We were contrasts " still, we suited. Affection was first a germ, then a sapling, then a strong tree " now, no new friend, however lofty or profound in intellect, not even Miss Martineau herself " could be to me what Ellen is; yet she is no more than a conscientious, observant, calm, well-bred Yorkshire girl. She is without romance. If she attempts to read poetry, or poetic prose, aloud, I am irritated and deprive her of the book; if she talks of it, I stop my ears; but she is good; she is true; she is faithful, and I love her."

Ellen helped Charlotte with packing her bags when she had to go to London. Ellen had much more knowledge about fashion and the appropriate things a woman should have in a situation like this.

They spend holidays together.

Ellen was besides Charlotte when Anne Bronte was dying and helped Charlotte with all the things need to be done afterwards.

When Charlotte Brontë married her father's Curate, the Rev. Arthur Bell Nicholls, at Haworth in June 1854, Nussey was one of two witnesses present. Their engagement had caused a cooling in the friendship on Nussey's part, who was probably jealous of Brontë's attachment to Nicholls, having thought they would both live as spinsters. But not only this. After the marriage Ellen received this letter from Charlotte:

to ELLEN NUSSEY, [20 October 1854]
Arthur has just been glancing over this note -- He thinks I have written too freely about *Amelia &c. Men don't seem to understand making letters a vehicle of communication -- they always seem to think us incautious. I'm sure I don't think I have said anything rash -- however you must burn[three underlines] it when read. Arthur says such letters as mine never ought to be kept -- they are dangerous as lucifer matches -- so be sure to follow a recommendation he has just given "fire them" -= or "there will be no more." Such is his resolve. I can't help laughing -- this seems to me so funny, Arthur however
says he is quite "serious and looks it, I assure you -- he is bending over the desk with his eyes full of concern. I am now desired "to have done with it--" so with his kind regards and mine -- Good-bye dear Ellen
Yours affectionately
CB: Nicholls (295) 

I can imagine how Ellen must have felt. If it happened to me I should be angry as well.

After the death of Charlotte Brontë in 1855 Nussey devoted the rest of her life to maintaining the memory of her friend, and she was often sought out by Brontë enthusiasts and biographers.
Ellen Nussey died in 1897, aged 80, at Moor Lane House in Gomersal in Yorkshire. Following her death, her possessions and letters were dispersed at auction, and many of Charlotte Brontë's letters to her eventually made their way through donation or purchase to the Brontë Parsonage Museum in Haworth in Yorkshire.

  New painting 
I asked Nick for more information. His answer: It's by Frederic Yates, an artist who moved to England from USA in 1890 so he must've painted Ellen between 1890-1897. Here is more information about this painter. wiki/Frederic Yates 

I was wondering, is it really a portrait of Ellen Nussey? I asked it to the Bronte Parsonage Museum and this is the answer. 

Hi Geri - our collections team have advised that the portrait in question was donated to the Brontë Society not long after its formation in 1898, prior to the museum moving to its current location at the Parsonage. The portrait has always been documented as being of Ellen Nussey in later life. Hope this helps!

Sure it helps. I am excited
I learned something new

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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