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 5 juni 2021

The Honresfeld Collection is now on display at Sotheby's New York.

The Honresfeld Collection is now on display at Sotheby's New York and so The New York Times puts the spotlight on some of its Brontë items (#SaveTheHonresfeldLibrary) in a slideshow. Sotheby’s said recently that it would offer a “lost library” that includes a cache of Brontë material. “It’s just absolutely gobsmacking,” one Brontë biographer told me. Highlights are on view in New York through June 9. 




donderdag 3 juni 2021


The Brontë Society: 

The news is exciting that the fabled Honresfeld Library has emerged from myth and obscurity to reveal its extraordinary treasures. But without immediate government intervention in the public interest, a national collection hidden for 100 years will soon be scattered piecemeal across the world—perhaps never to be seen.The first tranche is set to go under the hammer in July 2021. This is a library filled with unique and precious British treasures—manuscripts in the hands of Burns, Scott, Austen, the Brontës.  With national libraries and literary house museums, the public custodians of such materials, struggling to survive after a year of forced closure and lost revenue, this is not the moment to bring national treasures onto the international market.  Saved for the nation, this unrivalled collection will be a source of vital cultural revenue and creative renewal.  Retained as a coherent collection, it will repay scholarly investigation and provide enjoyment for all lovers of literature for the next 100 years.

In collaboration with other literary museums including Jane Austen's House, we have written to our local MPs to urge immediate action on this. If you would like to do the same, we have created a template letter for you to download and send. You can find this by clicking the button marked 'Downloads'.

If you are outside the UK and would like to help with this campaign, please keep sharing articles and posts on social media (#SaveTheHonresfeldLibrary) and watch this space for more ways to get involved. bronte/save-the-Honresfeld-Library

maandag 31 mei 2021

Pretty Penny, Haworth.

This was the tourist office until recently. and (long) before that the Yorkshire Penny Bank and the first home of the Bronte Museum. 

Look here for the history of this building: annebronte/treasures-of-the-first-bronte-museums

Owner, Jill Ross, has been a business owner in the village since 2006. She began by opening Cobbles and Clay, a pottery painting café. After success in the café, she opened her first home, fashion and gift shop; Daisy Days. Fast forward a number of years; the café outgrew its premise and moved a few doors up the iconic cobbled Main Street; the shop has since moved into the building that was once the Yorkshire Penny Bank in 1894, hence the name Pretty Penny. The building is steeped in history and we are so pleased to call it ours.

More great shops of now a days Haworth


zondag 30 mei 2021

Sotheby’s (first auction open for bidding from 2 – 13 July 2021)

Treasures include an extremely rare handwritten copy of Emily’s poems, with revisions from Charlotte (est. £800,000-1,200,000) and the well-loved Brontë family copy of Bewick’s History of British Birds, the book made famous in the opening pages of Jane Eyre (est. £30,000-50,000), brimming with entertaining annotations from their father Patrick. Little-seen letters to and from the likes of fellow novelist Elizabeth Gaskell, Hartley Coleridge (son of poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge), George Smith, publisher and vital champion of ‘The Bells’ (The Brontës’ secretive pseudonym), and many more, abound.

Scottish literature is also at the heart of the collection, which includes the most important manuscript by Scotland’s national poet, Robert Burns, in private hands. A compendium of poems, notes and ideas put together by Burns as an unknown twenty-four year old, First Commonplace Book offers a unique insight into the bard’s mind. It was last sold at Sotheby’s in 1879, for £10. The collection also includes other individual handwritten manuscripts of Burns’s poems and original letters to friends, family, patrons and lovers which build a picture of his colourful life.

Romantic writer Sir Walter Scott – the second-most quoted writer in the Oxford English Dictionary after Shakespeare – is also represented, most notably by the complete manuscript for Rob Roy, one of the last remaining manuscripts of a great 19th century novel that is not now in an institution.

Further noteworthy lots include Jane Austen first editions, including Emma, Northanger Abbey, Persuasion, Pride and Prejudice, a copy of Don Quixote printed in 1620 for Edward Blounte, the publisher famous for the First Folio of Shakespeare's plays, and an annotated copy of Alfred Lord Tennyson’s poems with pages showing author’s changes from proof printing in his hand. There is hardly an area that is untouched, with Homer, Ovid, the Grimm Brothers, Montaigne, Ann Radcliffe, Horace Walpole, Charles Dickens and Mary Wollstonecraft also making an appearance.

The more than 500 historic manuscripts, exceptional first editions, intimate letters and beautiful bindings will be offered across three auctions at Sotheby’s, commencing this summer (first auction open for bidding from 2 – 13 July 2021). The public will get the chance to view the library, with exhibitions of highlights to take place in London, Edinburgh and New York.  


A Lost Collection of Robert Burns Manuscripts: Sir Alfred Law, Davidson Cook, and the Honresfield Collection

Read all :scholarcommons 

  • That we still know so much about the Honresfield Collection is owing, not only to A.J. Law himself, but to the Burns scholar who gained his confidence, Davidson Cook. On the face of it, Cook was an unlikely figure to get privileged access at Honresfield. He was not a professional scholar, and not university educated. Nonetheless, Cook did a quite remarkable job, not only for the Honresfield Burns manuscripts, but also for the other major Honresfield collections, of Walter Scott and of the Brontës. Cook himself wrote and published about all three collections, but equally importantly he contacted and networked with other researchers, helping them gain access to the Honresfield material and collaborating with them on the production of the facsimiles and editions that would provide scholarly access for the future.
  • Solid information is also available about the fate of at least some of the Honresfield Brontë manuscripts. In March 1933, a group of them (though not the Emily Brontë “E.J.B.” poems manuscript) was auctioned at Hodgson’s, in London, listed as “The Property of a Collector” rather than with Law’s name attached (Alexander and Smith, 291; see also Book Prices Current, 1933, 119-121). In the early thirties, auction prices had fallen, and only about half of the items sold. In the 1940s, one scholar found their subsequent movements “already well-nigh untraceable” (Christian, p. 179), but some have since resurfaced, and a number of them were either bought for or subsequently donated to the Brontë Parsonage Museum in Haworth, so remaining available (Rosenblum and White). Nonetheless, Christine Alexander concluded that for Brontë scholars the disappearance of the Law manuscripts remains a “major stumbling-block,” and reported that “repeated pleas” to Law descendants “have gone unanswered” (Alexander, Manuscripts, xviii-xix).
  • Since the 1930s, not only successive Burns scholars, but those doing research on Emily Brontë or Walter Scott, have lamented the disappearance of the Law manuscripts from Honresfield. As the survey above indicates, the situation is not as bleak as it might seem, largely because of the remarkable work in the 1920s by Davidson Cook. But in fact there is published evidence that key portions of the Law collection survive and are still in family ownership. The 1995 Oxford edition of Emily Brontë’s poems had to rely for the Honresfield manuscript (the “E.J.B.” notebook) on the Shakespeare Head facsimile, along with photographs from the notebook in the Brontë Parsonage Museum, Haworth (Roper and Chitham, p. 14; and cf. Alexander and Smith, pp. 291, 315). 

‘Most important Brontë find in a generation’ goes on sale from lost hoard

The 26-bedroom mock-Gothic pile known as Honresfeld House was once home to the Law brothers, self-made cotton magnates who never married and instead devoted their lives to the honourable Victorian pursuits of industry and the arts. 

  • Their collection of original works by the Brontë sisters and Scotland’s national poet, Robert Burns, has achieved almost mythical status amongst the literati – not least because nothing has been seen of it for nearly a century. But that changed today when the auctioneer Sotheby’s announced that some 500 of the texts they amassed would go under the hammer in the course of the next year
  • The Brontë Society – which two years ago raised £85,000 from public donations towards the purchase at auction of one of Charlotte Brontë’s matchbox-sized “little books” of handwritten stories – said Emily’s manuscript also belonged at the Haworth Parsonage that was the family’s home. But it acknowledged that the timing of the sale was “unfortunate”. “We are faced with the very real possibility that this immensely significant collection will be dispersed and disappear into private collections across the globe,” it said in a statement to rally support. “We need to look beyond the narrow commercialisation and privatisation of heritage and work together to protect and share what we all value,” it went on. But it added that revenue from its Parsonage museum had “fallen away to almost nothing” during the pandemic and that “competition for public funds has become fiercer than ever”.
Honresfeld House

Photo from:

  • The story of the collection’s safekeeping is as remarkable as any in literature. It was in 1879 that Alfred and William Law built Honresfeld House in Littleborough on the outskirts of Rochdale, where their mill chimney was one of dozens that made up the landscape. They mingled in a world of newly-rich industrialists and bankers, eager to display their wealth and taste, and to assume the social status that a book collection would afford. 
  • William, who died in 1901, curated the collection, and when Alfred died 12 years later, his heir was his nephew, the Conservative MP Sir Alfred Law. meant that Honresfeld had one owner continuously from 1913, a period during which many other families, houses, and libraries faced unexpected estate taxes when recent heirs were killed in the trenches or died young of war injuries,” Dr Heaton said. “However, like his uncles, Sir Alfred Law never married, and since his death in November 1939, people lost trace of the library completely.”
  • As the treasures were passed down through the extended family, Honresfeld House was turned over for use as a Leonard Cheshire careme, and when that closed in 2016 it fell into disrepair. Three years ago, thieves who stripped out parts of the roof caused damage estimated at £250,000.


Dr Gabriel Heaton, English literature specialist at Sotheby’s, said the depth and style of their purchases marked them out as collectors of unusual sophistication, with their choice of Brontë manuscripts perhaps influenced by the Pennine landscape they shared. 

Dr Heaton said the collection once housed there “paints a unique portrait of the passions of one of the greatest and least-known collecting families from a golden age of book collecting”. He added: “When the library went missing from public view in the 1930s, many assumed it had disappeared, and to now play a role in bringing it to a wider audience is a true career highlight.”

  • Emily Brontë’s handwritten manuscript of her poems, with revisions from sister Charlotte, is the crown jewel of the collection, and includes her best-known verse, No Coward Soul Is Mine.
  • Ann Dinsdale, principal curator at the Brontë Parsonage Museum, said: “We’ve known about the Law collection since it sort of disappeared from view in the 1930s. And if there was one Brontë item. I could have in our collection, this is it. 

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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