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 15 september 2017

'The Bank-Bill reached me safely: I assure you I felt rather proud of its amount;

I read this on the Facebook page of the Bronte Society.
Does anyone know what this 500 pound would be worth now?

After receiving news that Shirley has been accepted for publication, Charlotte writes the following to George Smith on 14 September 1849:

'The Bank-Bill reached me safely: I assure you I felt rather proud of its amount; I am pleased to be able to earn so much, for Papa will be pleased too when I tell him. I should like to take care of this money: it is Papa's great wish that I should realize a small independency if you could give me a word of advice respecting the wisest and safest manner of investing this £500, I should be very much obliged to you. I have already a few shares in a Railway, but these are so much fallen in value of late that I hardly like to venture on so uncertain an investment a second time. A hint on the subject - provided it costs you no trouble - would be very acceptable to me.'

woensdag 13 september 2017

THE BRONTË Society will return to its original home.


THE BRONTË Society will return to its original home after winning the chance to run Haworth’s Visitor Information Centre. Bradford Council today rubber-stamped the bid by the society to run the Main Street facility in addition to its existing Brontë Parsonage Museum. The museum devoted to the Brontës’ lives and works was first housed in the small stone-built building at the junction with Changegate. The council’s ruling Executive voted to allow the society to take on the threatened service, which for many years has provided information to tourists about local attractions and accommodation.

The council had Brontë Society executive director Kitty Wright said: “We welcome the council’s decision and the opportunity to work with them to continue the delivery of visitor services in Haworth. “The museum is an award-winning attraction currently welcoming over 70,000 visitors a year and we look forward to stepping up to the challenge of ensuring that visitors old and new discover all that the Bradford area has to offer. “The museum’s first home was in the building which now houses the Visitor Information Centre on Main Street and it seems particularly fitting that we will return there during our bicentenary celebrations to promote this corner of Yorkshire to the world.”

The Brontë Society is currently in the second year of its five-year celebration of the 200th anniversaries of the births of the Brontë siblings, Charlotte, Branwell, Emily and Anne.
Bradford Council launched a public consultation earlier this year regarding the future of its tourism service as it bid to slash costs. Campaigners vowed to fight any attempt to close the Haworth facility.
Under the plan approved this week, the Brontë Society will take over the lease of the Haworth VIC building in Main Street. Provision will be based on the current seven-day opening and a full range of Discover and Visit Bradford guides would be carried. The promotion of local and district events and accommodation providers in Haworth would continue, as well as a ticket agency service.
Bradford Council launched a public consultation earlier this year regarding the future of its tourism service as it bid to slash costs.

As part of district-wide changes, also approved by the Executive, Ilkley VIC will be funded by the town’s parish council, Shipley College will have an information point in Victoria Hall at Saltaire and Bradford VIC will remain in its current location until 2019 while new options are developed.
There will also be a team of ‘pop up’ volunteers at key events across the district to act as ambassadors, and a tourism digital media officer. Cllr Sarah Ferriby, the council’s executive member for environment, sport and culture, said the ‘visitor economy’ currently generated around £612 million for the district

woensdag 30 augustus 2017

Photographs from Mark de Luca, inside the Bronte Birthplace Thornton.


Situated on Market Street in the village of Thornton on the outskirts of Bradford in the heart of West Yorkshire's Bronte Country is the Bronte Birthplace, where the Bronte Sisters (along with their brother Branwell) were born before moving to Haworth. Patrick and Maria Bronte moved in to the property with their infant child (Elizabeth, who was born in 1815 at their previous home in Hartshead), with Charlotte, Branwell, Emily and Anne being born in 1816, 1817, 1818 and 1820 respectively. During this time Patrick was curate at the Old Bell Chapel in Thornton. In 1820 the family moved to the parsonage in Haworth  bronte-country/bronte-birthplace. Since then the Bronte Birthplace has undergone several changes of use.

In the late 1990s the property was purchased and lovingly restored by the crime novelist Barbara Whitehead, who (with the support of the Bronte Birthplace Trust) opened the property as a museum before having to sell up in 2007. The historical home had been rented as bedsits to tenants in search of cheap accommodation but the plaques commemorating the births of the four gifted children outside the faded front door were barely noticed.

Businessman Mark de Luca and his wife Michelle spotted the near-derelict property believing it to be an unpolished tourism gem. Acquired following repossession, the birthplace has been sympathetically renovated with the ground floor Market Street south facing rooms being converted to commercial use, now a well regarded and established coffee bar known as Emily's.

Beautiful photo's of the interior
The Birthplace again for sale
Now, thanks to photographs taken by Mark, we can see parts of the building normally out of bounds to the public, and he has kindly allowed me to reproduce some of them here. Comments on the photo's from Mark de Luca.



  1. Home and birthplace to what became one of the worlds most famous families - literary geniuses - The Brontë's. Here the family was complete and unite for 6 years, and Charlotte (1816), Patrick Branwell (1817), Emily (1818) and Anne (1820) were all born here in the former dining room (ground floor windows to the right of the entrance).
    (Note: Photo is a collage of what remains and gives the impression of what the original building would of looked like at the time of The Brontë Family. No original photo, to date, exists)
  2. There's no photo in existence, but this is what the property here in Thornton would of looked like when the Brontë Sisters were born here before the extension to the front in 1898.


An elevation of the building that gets overshadowed by the front - this is the external elevations of the former Scullery (ground floor) and the former Servants and Nursemaids Bedroom (first floor).

It would be a good assumption that the land levels to this area have changed as properties to the sides and rear have been constructed in years past, between 1830-1840 - you can picture the wilderness... Sarah and Nancy Garrs would of been exposed to in the winter months to the north facing section of the building, their workplace!

The view from the former
Servants and Nursemaids Bedroom


The view from the smallest window, in the smallest room of the house, the former Servants and Nursemaids Bedroom.

I'm sure as Sarah and Nancy would of laid down to rest as dawn came in, they would of been blessed with a very different view to what we now see - although 'Coffin End' is a beautiful, landmark property in Thornton.


Stone staircase



The stone staircase leading from the former Scullery to the former Servants and Nursemaids Bedroom, with independent access to the former Children's Bedroom.

No wonder these stairs are showing so much wear with four children under 5 in The Brontë's final year in Thornton - you can still just about hear the constant steps of Sarah and Nancy up and down these stairs!


The drawing room

  1. The fireplace in the former Drawing Room (ground floor windows to the left of the entrance). This fireplace is not original to the time of The Brontë's, although is of the period and as believed to be installed by author Barbara Whitehead, the proprietor at the time the birthplace was a small museum (1996-2006)
The dining room

  1. The fireplace in the dining room, the original fireplace in the room when the Brontë children were born.....that's Charlotte, Branwell, Emily and Anne- this fireplace is now 215 years old, assuming it was the original to when the property was built in 1802!


Feature stonework header and corbel detail to now an internal doorway from the former Dining Room to what we are sure is an extension to the property to the far right.

Judging by the thickness of the wall and this stonework detailing, this was once the external wall and door - remember no properties either side of the property existed until 1830-40. In essence, this property stood completely alon...e; hard to visualise now as it stands central in a built up village.

Patrick and Maria's bedroom




  1. The fireplace in the Rev. Patrick and Maria's bedroom, the parents of Charlotte, Branwell, Emily and Anne Brontë.....a prominent feature in this room. First floor windows to the right of the entrance).

Children's bedroom


  1. The fireplace in the Brontë children's bedroom.....with a vintage toy box for good measure!
  1. The floor to ceiling wardrobe in the former Children's Bedroom, and has been said to be original to the time of The Brontë's. You can just imagine the bed linen being stored here, and used frequently by the servants and nursemaids Sarah and Nancy Garrs.
    Their room and stair access to the ground floor former scullery via an independent stone staircase is just through the door to the right of the photo.


Featured within the former Children's Bedroom is the original timber floor. This has been exposed, repaired, and painted in a classical Old White shade. It's likely in the time of The Brontë's, that either a carpet or large rug would of featured in this room, with an element of the timber floor being exposed to the perimeter of the room.



  1. The original timber staircase and balustrade to the entrance corridor. The waterfall carpet was specially designed and made bespoke for the property when it was a museum between 1996 to 2007, and is a design of the period to when The Brontë Family lived here.

vrijdag 4 augustus 2017

On this day in 1928, Haworth Parsonage opened to the public .


On this day in 1928, Haworth Parsonage opened to the public as the Bronte Parsonage Museum, having been bought by Sir James Roberts and presented to the Bronte Society.

Here you can read and see more photographes: brontesisters/ after+the+death+of+Charlotte+Bronte+

donderdag 20 juli 2017

THE birthplace of Haworth's legendary literary siblings is up for sale.

Anne, Charlotte and Emily Bronte – and their brother Branwell – were all born and raised in the Thornton building between 1815 and 1820, before the family moved to Haworth. Now the Market Street property, which has been Emily’s coffee shop delucaboutique since 2014, is being sold. After running it as a successful cafe, owner Marc De Luca has decided to sell the business, due to family commitments.

Since the cafe opened he and his wife Michelle have had two children, and he said they were no longer able to devote enough time to family, Emily’s and their other business, De Luca Hair. He is planning to sell the business and building privately, which he says will help him make sure the building’s future is in safe hands. He has no plans to shut the business before a new buyer is found.
The unassuming terrace property was occupied by the Rev Patrick Bronte during his tenure at Thornton Chapel.

In the years before the coffee shop opened, the future of the building was uncertain – it had been shut for some time and efforts to re-open it as a museum never bore fruit.

Although Emily’s operated as a business, many of the features still remained, and customers could sit in front of the fireplace the siblings were said to have been born in front of. The business has become one of the best rated in the district on TripAdvisor.

Mr De Luca said: “The idea is for someone else to take the business on to take it to the next level. We’re not selling because the business is unsuccessful, we’re just struggling to be able to open more than four days a week because of commitments. When we bought the property and set the business up we didn’t have two young children. Running two businesses is something that requires your full attention. “Whoever buys it has to be the right calibre of person. We don’t want to sell it to a property developer from London. “We live in the village so we still want to make sure any new owner does the best for Thornton. It is a great starting point for anyone who wants to open a business here. Our intention is to keep it open until it is sold. keighleynews/Bronte_birthplace_for_sale

Wuthering Heights Trailer 2017

dinsdag 18 juli 2017

Literary legends: Jane Austen and the Brontë sisters.

18 July 2017 is a special day for literature aficionados across the globe, for it marks the 200th anniversary of the death of perhaps the most beloved writer of them all: Jane Austen.


It was on this day in 1817, in a modest house in Winchester, that Jane drew her last breath aged 41, but in her four decades she had revolutionised the world of writing forever. Jane not only helped secure the popularity of the novel as an art form, often seen as subservient to poetry at the time she wrote her first work, Sense and Sensibility, in 1811, she also paved the way for new generations of women writers who would follow her.

Women like Elizabeth Gaskell, George Eliot, and especially the Brontë sisters. Charlotte, Emily and Anne are in the middle of 200th anniversaries of their own, as we remember the bicentenaries of their births in the years 1816 to 1820. Along with Austen they crafted brilliant works of genius that are the equal of any novels written by men, and in the public’s eye the Brontës and Jane have become inextricably linked.

I once asked one of the hard-working guides at the Brontë Parsonage Museum in Haworth what question they are asked more than any other. It was ‘Which of the Brontë sisters wrote Pride and Prejudice?’ followed closely by, ‘Is this where Jane Austen wrote her novels?’

It’s easy to see why the four writers should become mixed in the public’s perception. On a superficial level there are some similarities between Jane and the Brontës: Jane was after all an early nineteenth century writer who never married and lived with her family throughout her life. So far, so similar with Anne, Emily and Charlotte (who, admittedly, did marry aged 38, only to succumb to the effects of excessive morning sickness and die less than a year later). In other ways, however, Jane was very different to the Yorkshire triumvirate.

Jane was writing earlier in the century than the Brontës, and in a century that changed so radically as the decades advanced, this made a huge difference. Jane Austen was very much a regency woman, familiar with the values and traditions of the late eighteenth century, whereas the Brontës grew up at the start of Queen Victoria’s reign, and witnessed the huge social impact brought by the industrial revolution in a way that Jane never did. As an example of this, Jane Austen travelled to London from Chawton, in Hampshire, in 1815 by horse drawn carriage. In 1848, Charlotte and Anne Brontë travelled from Keighley to London via train.

The purpose of these two meetings reveals another important difference between Jane Austen and the Brontë sisters: Jane was travelling to meet the Prince Regent, later George IV, who was a huge fan of her work; Charlotte and Anne Brontë were travelling to meet the publisher George Smith, where they would finally reveal their true identity away from the masks of Currer and Acton Bell that they had hidden behind.

Jane Austen’s writing made her famous in her lifetime, a success that Anne and Emily would never know or desire. The Brontë sisters needed money in a way that Jane never did, but they eschewed fame and preferred public anonymity, although after the death of her younger sisters Charlotte did, reluctantly, step into the limelight.

Another important distinction between Jane Austen and the Brontë sisters was their social position. Whilst the Brontës were respectable, thanks to their father Patrick’s position as a long established priest in the Church of England, they were never rich, and were solidly lower middle class, whereas Jane was from an upper middle class background. Her financial position, and her position in society, became even more secure when her brother Edward was adopted by the very wealthy Thomas Knight. Knight had no children of his own, and in 1783 chose his distant relative the 15 year old Edward Austen, afterwards Edward Austen Knight, to be his legal heir. Edward adopted a number of grand properties, including the beautiful Chawton House. He also obtained a nearby property at Chawton for Jane to live in, and it was there that she worked on some of her greatest masterpieces.
The contrast between Jane’s brother Edward and the Brontës’ brother Branwell could not be greater: Branwell seemed to be a promising talent in his own right, but there would be no wealthy patronage for him, and he died at the age of 31 after a long addiction to drink and opium.

Other than their brilliant writing, there is one striking similarity between Jane Austen and the Brontës: sisterly love. Emily and Anne Brontë in particular were very close, being referred to as being like inseparable twins, despite their age difference. A similar relationship existed between Jane Austen and her sister Cassandra, two years older than Jane and always by her side throughout her life.
In the 200 years since her death, Jane Austen’s reputation has grown, but just what did Charlotte Brontë think of her? In fact, Charlotte reported that she had never read Jane Austen’s work until she was urged to by the critic G. H. Lewes. She was far from impressed as we can see from her reply to Lewes:

‘Why do you like Miss Austen so very much? I am puzzled on that point... I had not seen Pride & Prejudice till I read that sentence of yours, and then I got the book and studied it. And what did I find? An accurate daguerreotyped portrait of a common-place face; a carefully-fenced, highly cultivated garden with neat borders and delicate flowers - but no glance of a bright vivid physiognomy - no open country - no fresh air - no blue hill - no bonny beck. I should hardly like to live with her ladies and gentlemen in their elegant but confined houses.’

Charlotte’s judgement should be seen in the light of her irritation that Jane Eyre was being compared to Austen novels. It was a fate that befell Anne Brontë’s first novel too, as we see from the following extract from a review: ‘Agnes Grey is a somewhat coarse imitation of one of Miss Austin’s charming stories.’ It’s a pity, of course, that the reviewer hadn’t found the stories so charming that he’d remembered how to spell Miss Austen’s name.

If we take a more dispassionate look than Charlotte did, we simply have to acknowledge that Jane Austen’s books are works of genius just like those of herself and her sisters. One early twentieth century writer, however, thought it was unfair that Anne Bronte in particular was being overlooked in favour of Jane Austen. In 1924, celebrated Irish author George Moore wrote:

‘If Anne Brontë had lived ten years longer, she would have taken a place beside Jane Austen, perhaps even a higher place.’

We can equally lament that Jane Austen did not live another ten years. Her novels will always be read and always be loved. While ever this planet of ours continues its restless orbit around the sun, readers will still swoon over Mr Darcy and root for Emma to find her Knightley. Times will change, but the novels of Jane Austen will remain timeless. On this special day, we should all give a silent thanks to Jane Austen for her novels, and her ground-breaking role in the history of literature.

By Nick Holland. Author of 



maandag 10 juli 2017

Brontë bicentenary: How the literary society is making a comeback from turmoil.


A year ago, the Brontë Society was riven by discord and in-fighting. But now David Barnett finds that the future is looking brighter in Haworth.

2015 saw a swathe of resignations from the society – Bonnie Greer, then the president, among them – and the following year’s AGM saw scenes of discord never before witnessed, as answers were demanded about just what was going to happen to the venerable society going forward. What happened was Kitty Wright.

“There was perhaps a lack of confidence,” says Wright. “A torpor when it came to planning for the future.” So what did she bring to the party? She smiles. “You might say, an Australian can-do attitude.” Originally from Perth, Western Australia, Wright arrived in Britain in 1999.

“I’m not saying I’m succeeding where others have failed, just that with no-one in this post for 18 months there was something of a leadership vacuum. I suppose if I’ve done anything I’ve tried to create a climate of permission, of optimism and energy.”

She is constantly talking about the hard work of the core management and administration team that is based with her in a few rooms at the back of the parsonage – even as executive director, she shares her office with three other people – and bursts with almost visible pride at the work they do there.

Last week the Brontë Society was named as a new member of a rather exclusive club when it became one of the Arts Council’s National Portfolio Organisations. What this means in real terms is funding of £930,000 over the next four years. Wright was the one who put in the bid, and there are big plans for the money.

The parsonage already attracts international visitors – a group of Japanese tourists are browsing the exhibits while I’m there – but Wright wants to get the word out with a much stronger online presence. She has a vision of an “augmented reality” website, digital maps, digitised texts from the stock of exhibits: in essence, making their online presence an extension of the physical museum rather than, as Wright calls it, “just an electronic brochure”.

Partnerships with other bodies and organisations to encourage more engagement from under-represented demographics is key to the five-year plan of the Brontë Society – be that schools, higher education establishments, or groups working with black and ethnic minority communities.
And there’s also a bricks-and-mortar aspect to the proposals. Wright looks out of her office window and points to a meadow, beyond the trees that border the the parsonage grounds.

“Up there is an underground reservoir,” she says. “It was fed by springs and was built after Patrick Brontë’s work on improving the sanitation in Haworth. We’re hoping to launch a fundraising campaign next year to create a centre for contemporary women’s writing there, a flexible space that could host events, exhibitions, be hired by creative people who want to write, hold classes…”
It’s an ambitious project, Wright knows – it’ll cost between £2.5 and £3m, depending on how easy or difficult it is to run utilities up to it, and that’s without taking into account actually getting planning permission… and what the rest of the members of the Brontë Society think about building on the land.

There’s another plan as well, which she says is merely “a glint in our eyes”. “Did you see To Walk Invisible? There was a barn in that, that used to stand just outside the parsonage. It would be fantastic to recreate that, make it a curatorial and research space, with an interpretive exhibition, perhaps…”

Read all the article: independent/bront-society-bicentenary-charlotte-haworth-kitty-wright-

woensdag 28 juni 2017

Bronte collections of the Leeds University.


Leeds University

Yesterday I received an e-mail from Anne (living in the USA)  from the blog Stay at Home Artist. This year she visited Haworth for the second time. She told me that she went to Leeds University.
She saw 6 of Charlotte's letters to Amelia Taylor (in a beautiful book). 

I searched for this university and found a lot of interesting information. 
For instance:

The letters of Branwell Brontë

This resource provides searchable transcriptions of the letters of Branwell Bronte (1817-1848) kept in Special Collections at the University of Leeds Library.

Patrick Branwell Brontë was the younger brother of the Brontë sisters. His life has been infamously documented as one of alcoholism, debt and longing for a married woman called Lydia Robinson, with whom he supposedly had an affair. Much of the evidence for this comes from letters written by the Brontës, including these letters written by Branwell himself.

Transcriptions were made by volunteers working on a crowd sourced transcription project in 2015.

Haworth nr Bradford
May 15th
1842.
Resurgam

Dear Sir,
I have received great pleasure from the
examination of the three Drawings which you put
in to the hands of Mr J. Brown, and it appears
to me that the Design at £40. No. 2. has
received the greatest approbation from the Committee
appointed to carry into effect the erection of a
monument to the late Mr Andrews
If you could come over to Haworth on
the Afternoon of Friday May 20th ; during
the evening of which day the Committee will sit,
they will be able to speak more distinctly
to you than I have power to do - and I am sure
my Father would be pleased to see you if you can
make it convenient to visit us before the meeting.
Mr Brown will be thankful for any instruct
-ions you may be pleased to give him, and as he
expects an order for two more monuments - of course
through your hands - he will be thankful for some
information respecting the best method of colouring
letters Sunk in marble tablets.
Excuse the extreme illegibility of this scrawl
as I am scarcely hoping recovering from severe in-
disposition, and, with a hope to see you on Frid-
-ay,
Believe me,
Dear Sir,
yours most respectfully,
P.B. Bronte
P.S.
I should feel obliged by knowing per return
of post whether it will be in your power to come
over on the day mentioned above, or not.
[A sketch of a tombstone with the word RESURGAM on it. The initials P.B.B. are in the foreground. ]


Bibliography and relevant literature

• Alexander, Christine and Jane Sellars, The Art of the Brontës, (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1995)
• Alexander, Christine and Margaret Smith, The Oxford Companion to the Brontës, (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2006)
• Barker, Juliet, The Brontës (London: Weidenfeld & Nicholson, 1994)
• Grundy, Francis Henry, Pictures of the Past (London: Griffith and Faran, 1879)
• Gunnis, Robert, Dictionary of British sculptors, 1660–1851 (London: The Abbey Library, 1953)
• Leyland, Mary, ‘The Leyland family’, Transactions of the Halifax Antiquarian Society 29–48 (1954),
• Neufeldt, Victor, The poems of Patrick Branwell Brontë (London: Routledge, 1990)
• The works of Patrick Branwell Brontë, ed. V. A. Neufeldt, 2 vols. (London: Taylor and Francis, 1997–9)

Revd. Arthur Bell Nicholls
A final substantial collection of letters from Charlotte's husband, the Revd A. B. Nicholls, rounds off the biographical material (Nicholls' hand-copied collection of his wife's poems is included too). The account to Ellen Nussey of Charlotte's final illness, associated, it now seems, with pregnancy, is remarkably reserved; Nicholls retains his formal composure throughout even when commemorating, on 14 February 1855, his just departed wife: she was 'as good as she was gifted'. library.leeds/revd_arthur_bell_nicholls

Brontë Treasures In The Ellen Nussey Archive
And here the wonderful story of Nick Holland 

The Brotherton Library Special Collections room houses many old and valuable manuscripts, but there was one set in particular I was looking for: referenced ‘BC MS 19thC Brontë/07’ it is the Ellen Nussey archives. Collated inside the pages of a leather bound book are hand written letters and extracts written by Charlotte Brontë’s best friend Ellen Nussey, and they give startling insights into the Brontë sisters as a whole. Read all: annebronte/bronte-treasures-in-the-ellen-nussey-archive/

dinsdag 27 juni 2017

More then 1.000.000 pageviews.


I hardly believe it. My blog about the Bronte Sisters reached more then 1.000.000 pageviews. When I started it was for myself. I wanted to collect information. After a while I realised that people were interested. Through the time I met some very nice Bronte lovers. Paula and Kirsten from Holland. Anne and Jessica from the USA. Lynn, Nick and others from the United Kingdom. George from France with his big love for Emily.

It was so nice meeting all of you

And now
On to the next million ;-)

Branwell Brontë's Bicentenary Celebrations.


Branwell Bronte
This year, 200th anniversary of his birth
We remember him as the failure of the family. Despite being a passionate poet, writer and artist, he failed to hold down conventional jobs, and repeatedly succumbed to vice. Finally, his world fell apart after the end of an affair with a married woman, Lydia Gisborne, which accelerated his dependence on opiates and alcohol. He died at the young age of 31 from the long-term effects of substance abuse.

The poet Simon Armitage is the museum’s creative partner for this bicentenary, curating an exhibition that pairs his own poetry with objects owned by Branwell; inviting us to reflect on the workings of his mind and our relationship with this problematic fellow. At the heart of the exhibition is a letter to the Romantic poet William Wordsworth. Branwell, then a earnest 19-year-old, encloses one of his own poems, and expresses his hopes and dreams of building “mansions in the sky”.
Wordsworth never replied.

Life threw repeated punches at Branwell, but within this series of unfortunate events there was happiness and worth. We must not forget that the Brontë brother grew up in the same literature-charged environment as his three siblings. For much of their young lives, they collaborated on fantasy sagas as complex as our modern-day Game of Thrones. Set in the worlds of Glass Town and Angria, the siblings wrote the tales in tiny books and acted them out together. But Branwell was at the centre of this universe, often dictating the events of the saga or writing long parliamentary speeches and war epics. As Armitage says: “He was driving the whole show. He had this flurried imagination and they seemed to be wildly encouraging of each other.” Read more: theguardian

Branwell was a talented artist


Verdopolis



Brontë ParsonageBranwell was a talented artist & while he never quite made it as a portrait painter, we think his "Gos-Hawk" is pretty special


Branwell Brontë was born 200 years ago
He was the first Brontë to publish his work, often as 'Northangerland', his literary alter ego




This apron was decorated by him for the Three Graces Lodge, in Haworth, in the 1830s



Monthly Intelligencer newspaper
As a child, Branwell created the imaginary world of Angria with Charlotte - this is his Monthly Intelligencer newspaper


Here's his Little Henry play set

vrijdag 9 juni 2017

The Vegetable Garden of Mrs Gaskell.

In 1852 Mrs Gaskell wrote in her letters about the vegetables that were growing in the garden. In another letter she tells of being given rhubarb, though whether she meant rhubarb stalks for cooking or a root of rhubarb for growing, is not clear. I suspect it was a root. The part of the garden in which vegetables are likely to have been grown, is no more. There is a block of flats on the site. Also lost is the paddock in which, we can speculate, the cow and chickens were kept and the pigsty was situated. However, it was important to represent the productive side of the garden. Mrs Gaskell’s letters show that she took great pleasure in the vegetables that were grown in the garden and described herself planting cabbages among other garden tasks.

Consequently a small vegetable bed has been established at the end of the pergola and a fruit bed created against the rear wall. Mrs Gaskell is very unlikely to have had a vegetable bed so visible from the living and dining room. But then the garden as it is currently maintained is not a re-creation but more of an evocation of her life and works and it was important that we included some reference to the practical side of the mid-19th century garden.
Apart from perennial herbs, there is currently little to see in the vegetable bed which has recently been dug over, but it will be planted up with beans whose flowers compliment the roses on the pergola along with other vegetables. In past years we have grown coloured chard and cabbages, parsnips and leeks.

We do use “heritage” seeds and plants when these are available and in 2015 a “heritage” pumpkin seed produced the most abundant crop. The plants romped across the fruit bed and even started climbing the walls. We had pumpkins for Halloween, and enough for staff and volunteers to make pumpkin soup and pumpkin pie.

There must be something in the soil or the situation of the fruit bed. An alpine strawberry that was planted as an attractive edging to the bed, spread itself abundantly across the whole bed last year, way beyond its remit! The fruit-bed is now the home of the more sedentary gooseberry and currant bushes. Again we have used older varieties such as Lancashire Lad. Against the wall are apple and pear trees, trained as espalier plants. We have used varieties such as Doyenne de Comise and Duke of Devonshire.
Chris Tucker elizabethgaskellhouse

zaterdag 3 juni 2017

Brontë Society plaque on Bozar gets a facelift

It’s all too easy to walk past the bronze plaque on ‘Bozar’ commemorating Charlotte and Emily’s stay in Brussels in 1842-43, as it’s placed rather high on the building. Bozar. stands on the site of the Pensionnat Heger (demolished in 1909) where the sisters stayed while in Brussels. The plaque is on Rue Baron Horta/Baron Hortastraat, to the left of the main entrance to Bozar. Added to its lack of visibility, until a couple of weeks ago the Brontë plaque was looking sorry for itself under the grime deposited by air pollution.


It now has a brighter look after a spring cleaning. On 2 May it was restored – cleaned, polished and lacquered). The work, which took the best part of a day, was commissioned by the Brontë Society, based in Haworth, Yorkshire, with help from the Brussels Brontë Group. The Society plans to have regular maintenance of the plaque done from now on.
Read all: brusselsbronte



zaterdag 13 mei 2017

April advanced to May: a bright serene May it was.

Wild primrose -  Wild-Foodies

April advanced to May: a bright serene May it was; days of blue sky, placid sunshine, and soft western or southern gales filled up its duration. And now vegetation matured with vigour; Lowood shook loose its tresses; it became all green, all flowery; its great elm, ash, and oak skeletons were restored to majestic life; woodland plants sprang up profusely in its recesses; unnumbered varieties of
moss filled its hollows, and it made a strange ground-sunshine out of the wealth of its wild primrose plants: I have seen their pale gold gleam in overshadowed spots like scatterings of the sweetest
lustre. All this I enjoyed often and fully, free, unwatched, and almost alone: for this unwonted liberty and pleasure there was a cause, to which it now becomes my task to advert. Have I not described a pleasant site for a dwelling, when I speak of it as bosomed in hill and wood, and rising from the verge of a stream? Assuredly, pleasant enough: but whether healthy or not is another question. 

From Jane Eyre

Mansions in the Sky, Celebrating Branwell Bronte’s Bicentenary.





Leigh from the blog "Love Leigh"
visited the Bronte Parsonage Museum
And made beautiful photographes

From the blog"Love Leigh":

While the Parsonage have planned events throughout the year for all the family, it’s fair to say their crowning glory is the re-creation of Branwell’s bedroom. What was once simply a room to feature portraits painted by Branwell, has been transformed into a cave of chaos and creativity, with stacks of books stashed away in corners of the room, scrunched up pieces of paper with half-baked ideas, ink bottles on the floor, staining the carpet. Paints, brushes, and sketches you can hardly see because the room is so dimly lit. You really get a stark impression of Branwell’s mentality, desperate to succeed in some creative outlet, growing increasingly desperate and despondent as time goes on.
Read and see all: ashleylianne./mansions-in-the-sky-celebrating

donderdag 4 mei 2017

Will the Day Be Bright or Cloudy?

Will the day be bright or cloudy?
Sweetly has its dawn begun
But the heaven may shake with thunder
Ere the setting of the sun

Lady watch Apollo’s journey
Thus thy first born’s course shall be –
If his beams through summer vapours
Warm the earth all placidly
Her days shall pass like a pleasant dream in sweet tranquillity

If it darken if a shadow
Quench his rays and summon rain
Flowers may open buds may blossom
Bud and flower alike are vain
Her days shall pass like a mournful story in care and tears and pain.

If the wind be fresh and free
The wide skies clear and cloudless blue
The woods and fields and golden flowers
Sparkling in sunshine and in dew
Her days shall pass in Glory’s light the world’s drear desert through

Note: There seem to be a number of slightly different versions of this and many of Emily Brontë’s poems, with different line breaks, for example. I’m working from the Everyman’s Library Pocket Poets edition, in which the punctuation seems more minimal than in other editions. I did conduct some research but can’t ascertain which is truest to Brontë’s originals.

‘We've got a house...it certainly is a beauty...Elizabeth Gaskell, in a letter to her friend Eliza Fox in 1850.


‘We've got a house...it certainly is a beauty...I must try and make the house give as much pleasure to others as I can.’ Elizabeth Gaskell, in a letter to her friend Eliza Fox in 1850.

Welcome to 84 PLymouth Grove, Manchester.  For over 150 years, this house has been associated with its most famous resident: the novelist, Elizabeth Gaskell, who lived here from 1850 to 1865.
The House, now a Grade II listed property, was built between 1835-1841 on the outer edge of the growing city.  It was built as part of a new suburban development planned by Richard Lane and is a rare example of the elegant Regency-style villas once popular in Manchester. Thanks to a major £2.5m project funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund and others, the restored House is fully open to the public for the first time.

During the time Elizabeth lived here she wrote nearly all of her famous novels, including Cranford, Ruth, North and South and Wives and Daughters. She also wrote the biography of her friend Charlotte Brontë, plus many lively letters.

Notable visitors to the House included fellow writers Charlotte Brontë, Charles Dickens, John Ruskin, the American abolitionist and novelist Harriet Beecher Stowe and musician Charles Hallé.
William and his two unmarried daughters, Meta and Julia, continued to live in the house after Elizabeth’s death in 1865.  When Meta died in 1913 the house and its contents were sold.
elizabethgaskellhouse

This is Jess writes/take-a-walk-on-the-writers-side

donderdag 27 april 2017

The genesis of genius. The tiny books.


The tiny, hand-lettered, hand-bound books Charlotte and Branwell Brontë made as children surely qualify. Measuring about 2.5 by 5 centimeters, page after mini-page brims with poems, stories, songs, illustrations, maps, building plans, and dialogue. The books, lettered in minuscule, even script, tell of the “Glass Town Confederacy,” a fictional world the siblings created for and around Branwell’s toy soldiers, which were both the protagonists of and audience for the little books.

In 1829 and 1830, Charlotte and Branwell cobbled the pages together from printed waste and scrap paper, perhaps cut from margins of discarded pamphlets. They wrote with steel-nibbed pens, which tend to blot, yet the even script demonstrates their practiced hand.


Children can be rough on their playthings — miniature books created by the younger Brontë siblings Emily and Anne did not survive — but Charlotte kept and stored the “Glass Town” adventures carefully. “They must have been very precious to them, as they are to us today,” said Priscilla Anderson of Harvard’s Weissman Preservation Center, who restored the volumes.

Only about 20 volumes of Brontë juvenilia are known to remain. Harvard holds nine, the Brontë Museum at the family home in England owns a few, and the remaining are scattered among museums and private collectors.

To repair tears, Anderson used fine surgical instruments, teasing out and pasting down individual fibers of kozo paper about the width of a human hair. (Kozo is a fine paper made from the inner bark of an Asian plant, and is regularly used to mend books.) All through the painstaking work, she knew even a small mistake would be magnified. “I held my breath, literally,” said Anderson, “to keep fragments of paper from blowing away.”

New binding exposed text in the gutters of Branwell’s volumes for the first time in 170 years, and the digital technology deployed provides clarity beyond that of the human eye. Technicians moved the camera very slightly on multiple takes and combined them into one image. Every millimeter is sharply focused.

Charlotte’s husband sold the volumes after her death to a collector, who gave them to poet and fellow collector Amy Lowell; she donated the set to Houghton Library in 1925.

The nine Brontë volumes held by Harvard referenced in this story are available in full, free, online:
By Charlotte Brontë: Scenes on the great bridge, November 1829
The silver cup: a tale, October 1829
Blackwoods young mens magazine, August 1829
An interesting passage in the lives of some eminent personages of the present age, June 1830
The poetaster: a drama in two volumes, July 1830
The adventures of Mon. Edouard de Crack, February 1830
By Patrick Branwell Brontë:
Branwells Blackwoods magazine, June 1829
Magazine, January 1829
Branwells Blackwoods magazine, July 1829

Read all: news.harvard.edu/the-genesis-of-genius

maandag 17 april 2017

Easter and my Bronte watercolor cards.



HAPPY EASTER

Did you have a nice day on first easter day?
I was busy making pictures of the Bronte cards I painted
with some easter fun stuff

I work with watercolors and make greeting cards
But also large watercolor paintings
For a long time I wanted to make some Bronte related greeting cards
And now..... I did it......

Bracelet of Charlotte Bronte


Patrick Bronte's watch
Here pictured with my granddad' s watch and photograph





I wish you a happy second easter day


Do you want to know more about my watercolors?

I keep a blog: kleurrijkaquarellen

Parsonage

Parsonage

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).

Parents
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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