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 27 augustus 2015

2 watercolours attrib'd to C Brontë & bought at auction

Brontë Parsonage @BronteParsonage                       
New acquisition - 2 watercolours attrib'd to C Brontë & bought at auction! Will be conserved then displayed in 2016

vrijdag 21 augustus 2015

Searching for Paternoster Row and the Chapter Coffee House.

Nick Holland  is looking for the exact spot of the Chapter Coffee House.

From his website;  the Unfortunately on the exact spot where the Chapter Coffee House stood is now a gap. In the gap is a pump saying erected by St Faith’s Parish 1819, but this pump was only moved to its current spot in 1973 just as the imposing Temple Bar behind it was only moved to its current site in 2004.

How can we be certain that this is the correct spot? As well as matching the approximate location on Patrick’s map the buildings alongside the gap should also be taken into account. On the left hand side is Paul’s bakery. To the right is Chapter House, now being restored by St Paul’s, and bearing a sign saying ‘Paul’s Alley on the side. Whilst the façade of Paul’s bakery is modern, the doorway retains its original portico-like shape, as do the doors and windows of Chapter House. Take a look at them now: Read more on his interesting website about: Anne Bronte

woensdag 19 augustus 2015

19 August 1850, —"we like each other heartily"


heeft geretweet
19 August 1850— meets Charlotte Brontë at the Kay-Shuttleworths nr. Windermere—"we like each other heartily"

Two little birds in the church yard.

This beautiful picture from Paul JonesI love Haworth and the Bronte Parsonage 

dinsdag 18 augustus 2015

The silent Wild.

I found myself pondering what we know, and what we imagine. The museum hints that we can over-romanticise the Brontës’ lives; for example, although many people assume they didn’t travel, one exhibit is a trunk used by the sisters on trips to London, Ireland and Brussels. It wasn’t quite the claustrophobic, intense life we imagine. The house is small, and the weight of the tragedies it saw hangs heavy. But it’s also possible to imagine it as a refuge from the heave and thrust of life; there’s a quotation from Mr Bronte on how his little family comforted him, and brought him happiness after the death of his wife. It’s easy to focus on the heartbreak, but there’s life and potential here too.

From the blog Accidento Bizarro I love these words. Read more on this blog about the exposition in the Bronte Parsonage ""The Silent Wild"" bronte/the-silent-wild 

vrijdag 14 augustus 2015

Rose and Co. Apothecary

Rose and Co. Apothecary is housed in the original apothecary where Branwell Bronte purchased opium

More pictures on: lovebirdsvintage

woensdag 12 augustus 2015

Dave Zdanowicz images of Haworth

In the two years since Dave Zdanowicz acquired the camera he has taken more than 20,000 photographs and won several prizes. This year he won BBC Countryfile's Winter Landscape photography competition with his sublime image of the sun setting at Harold Park in Low Moor.

Some of Dave's images of Haworth will appear in a new biography of Anne Bronte by local author Nick Holland, due for release next year through the History Press. Read all: .thetelegraphandargus

vrijdag 7 augustus 2015

What did Virginia Woolf wrote about Charlotte Bronte?

Virginia Woolf in her book The Common Reader: The only advice … that one person can give another about reading is to take no advice, to follow your own instincts, to use your own reason, to come to your own conclusions. If this is agreed between us, then I feel at the liberty to put forward a few ideas and suggestions because you will not allow them to fetter that independence which is the most important quality that a reader can possess.

What did Virginia Woolf wrote about Charlotte Bronte in The Common Reader?

Charlotte Bronte has us by the hand, forces us along her road, makes us see what she sees, never leaves us for a moment or allows us to forget her. At the end we are steeped through and through with the genius, the vehemence, the indignation of Charlotte Brontë. Remarkable faces, figures of strong outline and gnarled feature have flashed upon us in passing; but it is through her eyes that we have seen them. Once she is gone, we seek for them in vain. Read all: adelaide.edu./virginia/woolf

Virginia Woolf's account of a visit to Haworth was the first of her writings to be accepted for publication (and the second to appear in print.) Woolf's article was first published in The Guardian, unsigned, on 21st December, 1904.

I do not know whether pilgrimages to the shrines of famous men ought not to be condemned as sentimental journeys. It is better to read Carlyle in your own study chair than to visit the sound-proof room and pore over the manuscripts at Chelsea. I should be inclined to set up an examination on Frederick the Great in place of an entrance fee; only, in that case, the house would soon have to be shut up. The curiosity is only legitimate when the house of a great writer or the country in which it is set adds something to our understanding of his books. This justification you have for a pilgrimage to the home and country of Charlotte Brontë and her sisters. Read all: digital.library..edu/women/woolf/VW-Bronte


donderdag 6 augustus 2015

George Smith and Lesley Stephen. (father of Virginia Woolf and Vanessa Bell and husband of Minny, the daughter of Thackeray)

The story of George Smith, Leslie Stephen, Sidney Lee and the first Dictionary of National Biography is a classic tale of the making of a successful work of reference which is more than the sum of its articles.

The Dictionary of National Biography was conceived in the early 1880s by George Smith, publisher of Ruskin, of the Brontës, Trollope, and many other leading nineteenth-century novelists, and of many journals including the Cornhill Magazine. Smith, happily replete with funds from publishing and from the manufacture of Apollinaris mineral water (whose spring he bought in 1873), sought fresh challenges. He enjoyed new enterprises and had an interest in biographical reference works. He inquired into the possibility of a new, English language version of the Biographie Universelle.

He discussed this with Leslie Stephen (father of Virginia Woolf) editor of his Cornhill Magazine since 1871 and as such publisher of many new authors such as Thomas Hardy and Robert Louis Stevenson.

 In 1882 Smith was persuaded by Stephen that a universal biography on the scale envisaged was impracticable. As Sidney Lee, Stephen's successor as editor of the DNB, recollected, in what was in itself an admirably concise, accurate definition: Acting on Mr Stephen's advice, Mr Smith resolved to confine his efforts to the production of a complete dictionary of national biography which should supply full, accurate, and concise biographies of all noteworthy inhabitants of the British Islands and the Colonies (exclusive of living persons) from the earliest historical period to the present time. global/oxforddnb

Leslie Stephen wrote critiques of many authors and works, which were published in periodicals such as the Cornhill Magazine (of which he was editor from 1871), Fraser's Magazine and the Fortnightly Review. The Third Series, first published in 1879, includes commentaries on the works of Henry Fielding, Charlotte Brontë, Charles Kingsley and Walter Savage Landor, and the poetry of William Wordsworth. Stephen sets each writer's work in its historical context, comparing it to that of other significant authors of its era and evaluating its philosophical and moral qualities. His articles remain of great interest to scholars of early modern, Romantic and Victorian literature. abebooks/Hours-Library

Stephen’s own analysis of CB does, I think, display something like the desired balance. Here, for example, he proposes a standard against which to measure her overall achievement:

Miss Brontë, as her warmest admirers would grant, was not and did not in the least affect to be a philosophical thinker. And because a great writer, to whom she has been gratuitously compared, is strong just where she is weak, her friends have an injudicious desire to make out that the matter is of no importance, and that her comparative poverty of thought is no injury to her work. There is no difficulty in following them so far as to admit that her work is none the worse for containing no theological or philosophical disquisitions, or for showing no familiarity with the technicalities of modern science and metaphysics. But the admission by no means follows that her work does not suffer very materially by the comparative narrowness of the circle of ideas in which her mind habitually revolved. Perhaps if she had been familiar with Hegel or Sir W. Hamilton, she would have intruded undigested lumps of metaphysics, and introduced vexatious allusions to the philosophy of identity or to the principle of the excluded middle. But it is possible, also, that her conceptions of life and the world would have been enriched and harmonised, and that, without giving us more scientific dogmas, her characters would have embodied more fully the dominating ideas of the time. There is no province of inquiry–historical, scientific, or philosophical–from which the artist may not derive useful material; the sole question is whether it has been properly assimilated and transformed by the action of the poetic imagination. By attempting to define how far Miss Brontë’s powers were in fact thus bounded, we shall approximately decide her place in the great hierarchy of imaginative thinkers.

As Stephen points out: “What would Jane Eyre have done, and what would our sympathies have been, had she found that Mrs. Rochester had not been burnt in the fire at Thornfield?

Read more: openlettersmonthly./leslie-stephen-charlotte-bronte

Leslie Stephen was married to Minny Thackeray, the daughter of novelist William Makepeace Thackeray during this time. Julia developed a strong lifelong friendship with Minny’s sister Anny Thackeray. 

Harriet Marian (“Minny”) Thackeray Stephen (1840-1875) and Leslie Stephen (1832-1904) are seen here standing outdoors, probably on their wedding trip to Switzerland in 1867. Reproduction of plate 35d from Leslie Stephen’s Photograph Album.
Original: albumen print,  Mortimer Rare Book Room, Smith College kimberlyevemusings


Leslie and Julia Stephen in Grindelwald, Switzerland, 1889
by Gabriel Loppé (1825-1913)
Reproduction of plate 39e from Leslie Stephen’s Photograph Album
Original: albumen print (17.0 x 12.3 cm.)
Mortimer Rare Book Room, Smith College

dinsdag 4 augustus 2015

Collection of literary manuscripts by Elizabeth Gaskell and Charles Darwin, a distant cousin of Elizabeth Gaskell.

The Library holds the world’s most important collection of literary manuscripts by Elizabeth Gaskell (1810-1865), including the only complete manuscript of one of her novels (Wives and Daughters) and her celebrated biography of her friend Charlotte Brontë. Her archive also contains nearly 400 letters from notable figures – including Brontë, Charles Dickens, Thomas Carlyle, George Eliot, John Ruskin and many more – some of which were sent to Gaskell herself and some which she acquired for her own autograph collection. In addition there are artefacts (such as Gaskell’s inkstand) and famous portraits. Two related collections also contain significant Gaskelliana: the Jamison Family Archive, and the papers of Gaskell scholar and collector J.G. Sharps. Material from all of these collections has been digitised, along with some items which remain in the possession of Gaskell’s descendants. Together, these constitute an outstanding digital resource relating to Gaskell, her work and the circles in which she moved. luna.manchester


Elizabeth Gaskell knew Martineau and Newman, became friends with some American Unitarians, and definitely embraced the spiritual side of Unitarianism. She thought Priestley's brand of Unitarianism was cold and hard. Jesus, though not Christ, was a living presence, and the Bible remained an indispensable book. But Elizabeth Gaskell was also of the social reform school of Unitarianism, in company with Harriet Martineau and Florence Nightingale in England, and Theodore Parker and Dorothea Dix in this country.

Gaskell was writing at a time when the mill owners struggled against a social system in which the landowners were paramount and often charged exhorbitant rents to the industrialists. Thomas Malthus direly predicted that population would soon outstrip food supply. Utopian socialists planned alternative, cooperative societies. And Frederick Engels presented his dark picture of the situation in Manchester in "The condition of the Working Class in England." Gaskell's writing seems to us far from radical, and those on the left found her solutions paternalistic. But hers was a paternalism of aiding adult children and watching them become independent agents rather than the "Father Knows Best" paternalism prevalent at the time. In both Mary Barton and North and South she shows the folly of mill owners refusing to inform workers of even good reasons for their actions and assuming that workers wouldn't understand or had no right to know, anyway. Gaskell was one of the few writers with some sympathy for workers's unions. In North and South, she envisioned union leaders acting in an advisory capacity in the affairs of the mills.

Charles Darwin, a distant cousin of Elizabeth Gaskell, published On the Origin of Species, in 1859 and evolution was the center of the public debate throughout the 1860s. Unitarianism still was primarily the rational and scientific religion of Joseph Priestley despite the move toward more spirituality, and Unitarians welcomed the theories and as usual loved discussing Darwin's concepts. At the time, Oxford and Cambridge only allowed Anglican students, and studies concentrated there on ancient languages, literature and history. Science, as a discipline for study, was not valued. Gaskell, in Wives and Daughters illustrates the attitude with a vignette of two sons. The parents hail the eldest, a student of poetry, as the genius of the family, while they view the younger son, with a keen interest in science and nature, as slow-witted. Unitarians studied at other Universities, such as in Edinburg, that may not have been as prestigious, but had great science departments. They were among the Theory of Evolution's staunchest defenders in the early confrontations between science and religion. The Gaskells had two liberal Anglican friends at Oxford, Benjamin Jowett and Mark Pattison, who were charged with heresy for embracing Darwinism and denying the existence of hell. I'm not sure which outraged the Anglican establishment more, but a conviction of heresy was overturned on appeal. uufhc.net


vrijdag 31 juli 2015

Charlotte Bronte and Turner.

Letter to W. S. Williams (31 July 1848)

I have lately been reading Modern Painters, and I have derived from the work much genuine pleasure and, I hope, some edification; at any rate it made me feel how ignorant I had previously been on the subject which it treats. Hitherto I have only had instinct to guide me in judging of art; I feel now as if I had been walking blindfold — this book seems to give me eyes. I do wish I had pictures within reach by which to test the new sense. Who can read these glowing descriptions of (J. M. W.) Turner’s works without longing to see them? However eloquent and convincing the language in which another’s opinion is placed before you, you still wish to judge for yourself. I like this author’s style much; there is both energy and beauty in it: I like himself too, because he is such a hearty admirer. He does not give Turner half-measure of praise or veneration; he eulogizes, he reverences him (or rather his genius) with his whole soul. One can sympathize with that sort of devout, serious admiration (for he is no rhapsodist) one can respect it; and yet possibly many people would laugh at it. I am truly obliged to Mr. Smith for giving me this book, not having often met with one that has pleased me more.
  • Charlotte Brontë, on Modern Painters, Vol. 1 (1843), by John Ruskin. Letter to W. S. Williams (31 July 1848) The Letters of Charlotte Brontë

Frosty Morning was painted from a scene that Turner had witnessed in Yorkshire and when Claude Monet saw the painting decades later, he declared that Turner had painted it with “wide-open eyes.”

Charlotte Brontë wrote in 1848 to WS Williams on reading Ruskin’s Modern Painters.
A year later on 5 December she sent a letter to her father from London:
‘I have seen the pictures in the National Gallery.  I have seen a beautiful exhibition of Turner’s paintings’.
carefully distinguishing one from the other (as Heather Glen notes in Charlotte Brontë: The Imagination in History OUP 2002).  On 14 February 1850 she wrote to her friend Margaret Wooler of having seen
‘one or two private collections of Turner’s best water colour drawings’ as well as ‘his later oil-paintings’. turnerintottenham
What became the first volume of Modern Painters (1843), published by Smith, Elder & Co. under the anonymous but authoritative title, "A Graduate of Oxford," was Ruskin’s response to Turner’s critics. wiki/John_Ruskin

Paintings of Turner. google/Turner 

donderdag 30 juli 2015

Emily Bronte's birthday and the diary papers she and Anne were writing on her birthdays.

Today we celebrate
the birthday of Emily Bronte
Emily Bronte was born on 30 juli 1818
Emily and Anne Bronte
had agreed to write each a kind of reminiscence
 every four years
 to be opened by Emily on her birthday
Here the drawings Emily made on these diary papers
 The table was featured in an 1837 diary paper sketch by Emily,
 showing herself and Anne writing at the table with all their papers scattered before them.
Aren't they great these drawings?
Can we not imaging Emily
 sitting in her small room with Keeper at her feet
Or laying on her bed watching the stars in te night
 creating her beautiful strong poems and Wuthering Heights?
No Coward Soul is Mine
No coward soul is mine,
No trembler in the world’s storm-troubled sphere:
I see Heaven’s glories shine,
And faith shines equal, arming me from fear.
Cold in the earth—and the deep snow piled above thee,
Far, far, removed, cold in the dreary grave!
Have I forgot, my only Love, to love thee,
Severed at last by Time's all-severing wave?
 Clement Shorter: The last words that I have to say concerning Emily
 are contained in a letter to me from Miss Ellen Nussey.
‘So very little is known of Emily Brontë,’ she writes, ‘that every little detail awakens an interest.  Her extreme reserve seemed impenetrable, yet she was intensely lovable; she invited  confidence in her moral power. Few people have the gift of looking and smiling as she could look and smile.  One of her rare expressive looks was something to remember through life, there was such a depth of soul and feeling, and yet a shyness of revealing herself—a strength of self-containment seen in no other. She was in the strictest sense a law unto herself, and a heroine in keeping to her law. She and gentle Anne were to be seen twined together as united statues of power and humility. They were to be seen with their arms lacing each other in their younger days whenever their occupations permitted their Union. On the top of a moor or in a deep glen Emily was a child in spirit for glee and enjoyment; or when thrown entirely on her own resources to do a kindness, she could be vivacious in conversation and enjoy giving pleasure. A spell of mischief also lurked in her on occasions when out on the moors. She enjoyed leading Charlotte where she would not dare to go of her own free-will. Charlotte had a mortal dread of unknown animals, and it was Emily’s pleasure to lead her into close vicinity, and then to tell her of how and of what she had done, laughing at her horror with great amusement. If Emily wanted a book she might have left in the sitting-room she would dart in again without looking at any one, especially if any guest were present. Among the curates, Mr. Weightman was her only exception for any conventional courtesy. The ability with which she took up music was amazing; the style, the touch, and the expression was that of a professor absorbed heart and soul in his theme. The two dogs, Keeper and Flossy, were always in quiet waiting by the side of Emily and Anne during their breakfast of Scotch oatmeal and milk, and always had a share handed down to them at the close of the meal. Poor old Keeper, Emily’s faithful friend and worshipper, seemed to understand her like a human being.  One evening, when the four friends were sitting closely round the fire in the sitting-room, Keeper forced himself in between Charlotte and Emily and mounted himself on Emily’s lap; finding the space too limited for his comfort he pressed himself forward on to the guest’s knees, making himself quite comfortable.  Emily’s p. 180heart was won by the unresisting endurance of the visitor, little guessing that she herself, being in close contact, was the inspiring cause of submission to Keeper’s preference. Sometimes Emily would delight in showing off Keeper—make him frantic in action, and roar with the voice of a lion.  It was a terrifying exhibition within the walls of an ordinary sitting-room.  Keeper was a solemn mourner at Emily’s funeral and never recovered his cheerfulness.’gutenberg CHAPTER VI
More about Clement Shorter: independent
Clement Shorter received the diary papers from Arthur Bell Nicolls when he was visiting him in Ireland after the death of Charlotte Bronte. I am still searching on the internet of  a story about this happening.
Anne repplies: It's my understanding Arthur found these papers hidden in a tin box in 1895 . If it was Charlotte who destroyed Emily and Anne's papers, she missed gems because they were hidden.

Arthur found them when looking over what he had for Shorter...He didn't know of them before. Nicholls said to Shorter, that if he had not asked him to look for items, it's likely this box would have been discarded when Arthur passed ...and what if he had not brought that box from Haworth 40 years before ?!

We can't fault Arthur for being possessive when we have benefited by it so richly. Many Bronte items would have been lost if he had not held on to them for those 40 years When giving Shorter the diaries , Arthur said with feeling " Those poor girls!"

woensdag 22 juli 2015

Very interesting news. The University of of Manchester Library has digitised several Elizabeth Gaskell's manuscripts, letters (and letters sent to her) and published them online:

Highlights from the collection are the unedited ‘warts and all version’ of her biography of Charlotte Brontë and the original handwritten manuscript of Wives and Daughters. This was left incomplete as she died on 12 November 1865 before she was able to finish it and is the only ‘complete’ manuscript of any of Gaskell’s novels which survives.  The University of Manchester Library are using cutting edge technology to digitise selected works from their internationally renowned Gaskell collection which includes:

 Four of her literary manuscripts
-Collections of letters to Gaskell from Charles Dickens and Charlotte Brontë
-Correspondence between Gaskell and various friends and acquaintances
-Gaskell’s descendants have also kindly given permission for items from the Elizabeth -Gaskell Family Collection to be photographed by the Library.

 Gems from this collection include:
-Gaskell’s passport
-A portrait of Gaskell by Samuel Laurence dating from 1854
-A portrait miniature of her aunt, Hannah Lumb, who brought her up in Knutsford (Gaskell referred to her aunt as her ‘more than mother’)

The digital collection is being launched to coincide with the 150th anniversary of Gaskell’s death this year. The online Elizabeth Gaskell collection can be viewed here:
There you can find a goldmine with letters by Charlotte Brontë, Patrick Brontë and the manuscript of The Life of Charlotte Brontë: bronteblog

zondag 19 juli 2015

The owner has contacted the Daily Mail and the Brontë Parsonage and several experts give their opinion:
It is clearly a photo with a story to tell – and collector Seamus Molloy hopes it will earn a place in the history of literature. For he believes the subjects in the grainy antique picture, which cost him only £15 on eBay, are Charlotte, Emily and Anne Brontë. If so, it would be the only known photo of the sisters. Mr Molloy, 47, bought the 4½in by 3¼in image because he thought its subjects resembled the Brontës in the only known surviving portrait of them, painted by their brother Branwell. (...) Yesterday Catherine Rayner, of the Brontë Society, said: ‘It would be wonderful if it is. It is worth investigating. 'We have discussed it and there is a possibility it might go forward for some sort of forensic examination. 'Most of me is saying I don’t think it can be them. But we are not dismissing it.’ Ann Dinsdale, of the Brontë Museum in Haworth, West Yorkshire, said: ‘It seems unlikely that the Brontës would have been photographed. 'Photography was in its infancy. The family was quite reclusive and Emily and Anne were unknown at that time. 'Naturally there is a huge interest in what they looked like. However, provenance of images is hard to establish and sadly we may never really know.’ (...) Mr Molloy has also contacted the National Portrait Gallery, where photographs cataloguer Constantia Nicolaides said there were ‘notable differences’ in the brow lines and lip shape of the subjects in the photograph from those of the sisters as painted by Branwell. Two historical costume experts, contacted by the Mail without being told it was believed to be a photograph of the Brontës, dated the clothing worn by the women to around 1850 - tantalisingly close to the latest date it could have been taken, 1848 when Emily died. The National Media Museum in Bradford told Mr Molloy the image is a ‘collodian positive’, a process that was commercially available after 1852, and doubted a photographer would have used that to copy an even earlier form of photograph as it would have been ‘practically difficult’. (David Wilkes)
If this is a real picture of the Brontës, then I'm Heathcliff! (...)
Emily, after years of withering away, died of TB in 1848, Anne a year later. All, in this photograph, look as healthy as three Yorkshire puds. This photograph would have had to be taken in the 1840s, when photographic portraiture was in its infancy. This trio have left, the eye suggests, their infancy some way behind them. The one on the left (with a prayer book in her hand) looks middle-aged. Exposures, for the earliest photographs, took many minutes (trees were, for that reason, favourite objects: it can get boring). (John Sutherland)
You’ve got to think, why would there be a picture of them? There’s certainly no record of them ever having had a photograph taken. Everybody wants to know what the Brontës looked like – I regularly get sent images, either portraits or photographs, of either one woman or three women, and people think that they’re the Brontës. We do what we can, but if the image has got no provenance and it’s not documented anywhere, it’s really difficult. Even if you can look at it and say, ‘well the hairstyles are absolutely right, the costume is right,’ it’s still difficult to know for sure. (Ann Disndale) 

zaterdag 18 juli 2015

Charlotte Brontë Auctioned Watercolours. The Details


dinsdag 14 juli 2015

Yorkshire screenwriter Sally Wainwright reveals all about her new Bronte drama

“I’m not interested in chocolate box representations,” says the Halifax-born screenwriter behind Happy Valley and Last Tango in Halifax. “I want it to be authentic. It’s very easy for these kind of historic dramas to slip into easy cliche, but right from the start I was determined to get past the Brontë myth which has inevitably romanticised and overshadowed the lives and careers of Emily, Charlotte and Ann. I wanted to immerse myself in what life was really like for these three women living in the north of England.”

Wainwright, who describes herself as a lifelong fan of the Brontës, did what she always does when it comes to research and buried her head in books. Lots of books. With just two hours to tell her story, she knew that it would be impossible to tell the full Brontë biopic. Nor did she want to, preferring instead to focus on one particular story arc. In the end she settled on the three years from 1845 to 1848, which for the Brontës were packed with more drama and tragedy than most families see in a lifetime. Read all the article: yorkshirepost

Look on the Bronte table.

zondag 5 juli 2015

Norton Conyers. The home said to have inspired Charlotte Bronte is opening to the public

A HIDDEN staircase leading to the “madwoman in the attic” which is thought to have inspired the novelist Charlotte Bronte will go on public view for the first time later this month.
The writer is believed to have visited Norton Conyers in 1839, seen the attics, and heard the family legend of “Mad Mary” who was secretly confined to an end room, as far away as possible from the rest of the house.

When Brontë wrote her 1847 classic Jane Eyre, she created the character of Edward Rochester’s Creole first wife who he locks away in the upper floors of his sprawling manor “three storeys high, of proportions not vast though considerable: a gentleman’s manor house” - which owners Sir James and Lady Graham say perfectly sums up the exterior of the house, near Ripon.
The house reopens for just a week from July 19 to July 26, and there is expected to be high demand to see the fruit of extensive repair and conservation work, which has seen the house closed to the public for the last eight years.  Read all:  yorkshirepost

zaterdag 27 juni 2015

The birth of Branwell Bronte.

Branwell Brontë was the fourth of six children and the only son of Patrick Brontë (1777–1861) and his wife, Maria Branwell Brontë (1783–1821).[2][3] He was born in Thornton, near Bradford, West Riding of Yorkshire,[2

Bronte Parsonage Museum

vrijdag 19 juni 2015

June Weekend - excursion to Plymouth Grove


Isobel Stirk writes:
Our journey on the Brontë Society’s excursion to Manchester was certainly pleasant. It took us through some beautiful Lancashire countryside with the brooding Pendle Hill lurking in the background and soon our driver was skilfully negotiating the busy traffic of Manchester and we arrived at our destination- Plymouth Grove.

The house boasts a delightful tea room and we were offered tea or coffee and delicious cakes. We were told that when Charlotte was in residence there she asked, one evening, to be served only black tea as green tea made her very restless. Mrs Gaskell was in somewhat of a dilemma as the only tea they had was a mixture of both. She did not inform Charlotte of this but when asked next morning if she had slept well Charlotte answered very much in the affirmative. After partaking of this mouth- watering repast it was time to move on from this house which had been restored so well and sensitively- with not a touch of pink in sight! bronteparsonage/june-weekend-excursion-to-plymouth-grove

Smallpox around the Haworth area


William seems to have lived his whole life in the area around Old Snap, and died in 1823, and was buried at Haworth Churchyard, as the following parish record shows, written by the hand of Rev’d Patrick Bronte. 

Interesting article. Read all on: bancroftsfromyorkshire

donderdag 18 juni 2015

Flowers in the Parsonage Museum

The Hotel Cluysenaar

The Hotel Cluysenaar, on Rue Royale, which later became the Astoria Hotel, is more than likely the original model for the Hotel Crécy in Villette. This is how Charlotte describes it (Vashti chapter): “It was an hotel in the foreign sense: a collection of dwelling-houses, not an inn - a vast, lofty pile, with a huge arch to its street-door, leading through a vaulted covered way, into a square all built round”.

In Villette, Charlotte describes how Lucy goes up a “wide, handsome public staircase” to the second floor of the Hotel Crécy where she is admitted to “a suite of very handsome apartments” (Vashti chapter).

The Wheelwright family, friends of the Brontë sisters, took up residence at the hotel when they moved over from England to Brussels. Dr. Thomas Wheelwright, his wife and five young daughters, arrived in the city in July 1842, leaving in August 1843. One of the Wheelwright daughters, Laetitia, was to become Charlotte’s lifelong friend. 

J.J. Green in his 1916 article wrote that “at their residence in a flat at the big Hotel Cluysenaar, the Wheelwright children delighted in the big staircases, running up one and down the other” (p. 224). Mr. Green had some problems with the spelling of the hotel's name. Occasionally it gets ‘Clusyenaar’ and at one point it reads ‘Olusyenaar’. A ‘kluizenaar’, in modern Dutch spelling, means a hermit, a recluse. As a surname, in older variants, it is not uncommon in the Low Countries. thebrusselsbrontegroup

photo inside the hotel:  flickr.com/photos
A lot of beautiful photo's: charlottemathieson/charlotte-brontes-brussels/

Brontë Brussels Past Historians: Joseph Joshua Green.

An important article about the Wheelwright family, named 'The Brontë-Wheelwright friendship', was written by Joseph Joshua Green. It was published in 1916 in the somewhat obscure Friends' Quarterly Examiner (in two instalments). Thus very few people have actually read the article, while only small parts have been quoted in most biographies. Thanks to internet we can now present it to you. Click here to access the article (it has to be opened page by page).

His article begins with some interesting genealogical details. He then describes the Brontë- Wheelwright friendship and the mementoes of it which remained in his family's possession at the time of writing. It makes fascinating reading. Even though he reports how valuable Brussels material was thrown into the fire and destroyed (pp.119 and 237), there are tantalising visions of what might still exist, and which did exist when the article was written. There are "two large albums with mementoes of their travels, both in Germany and Belgium"(p.121), and also "a large coloured plan of the Protestant Burial Ground at Brussels showing the place of her [Julia's] interment" (p.221). Green also mentions the possession of "a tiny bouquet of dried flowers from the pensionnat garden" (p.226).

Green wrote his article in the middle of the First World War, a few years after Frances, the last of the Wheelwright sisters had died. This year 1916 more or less saw the end of an important period of Brussels Brontë research, and the beginning of a very long barren period, with only the exception of Edgar de Knevett's 1923 article. Read all the article: brusselsbronte

Wondering about Charlotte

Deborah Lutz, author of The Brontë Cabinet, wonders in Out whether Charlotte Brontë was gay.
When Jane Eyre was published in 1847, it quickly took its place as one of literature’s most famous love stories—straight love stories, of course, with the plain governess Jane falling for the mysteriously tormented, butch Rochester. Yet the intimacy between women in some of her lesser-known novels, especially Shirley, gives pause. And then there is the cross-dressing — Rochester as an old gypsy woman, Lucy Snowe in Villette as a young dandy flirting with a pretty woman. Shirley fancies herself an “esquire” because her parents “gave me a man’s name; I hold a man’s position.” “It is enough to inspire me with a touch of manhood... I feel quite gentlemanlike.” Her governess worries about her disdain for needlework and her habit of whistling because people will feel that she “affected masculine manners.” Evidence mounts in Charlotte Brontë’s letters to her best friend Ellen Nussey. When Vita Sackville-West read them in 1926, she had no doubt as to “what Charlotte’s tendencies really were.” She found them “love letters pure and simple.” Sackville-West (Virginia Woolf’s lover at the time) found Brontë’s courting language, the sort a Victorian man used to woo women, sapphic. In one letter, Brontë proposed to Ellen that they set up house together permanently, admitting in a postscript: “I am afraid of caring too much for you.” Nussey remembered Brontë stroking her head, exclaiming, “If I had but been a man, thou wouldst have been the very ticket for me as a wife.” (Read more)bronteblog



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.



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