Saturday, March 02, 2013

The Welsh Connection

Diane Lawrenson's The Brontë Sisters (source)

The Royal Cambrian Academy celebrates the Welsh Charlotte Brontë connection through Charlotte's honeymoon stay in Conwy:
One of the most celebrated novelists in the English language spent the first night of her honeymoon in Conwy.
Charlotte Brontë of Jane Eyre fame honeymooned with her husband Arthur Nicholls at the Castle Hotel in Conwy in June 1854.
A new exhibition at the Royal Cambrian Academy in the town will celebrate this connection.
Sculptress and artist Diane Lawrenson RCA is to exhibit her life-size sculpture of the Brontë sisters, returning Charlotte to the town where she spent the first night of her married life.
Diane will be exhibiting her work alongside the artist Louise Payne RCA, from March 2 to April 6.
Charlotte wrote a letter to her friend from Conwy, in which she said: “Dear Ellen, I scribble one hasty line just to say that after a pleasant enough journey we have got safely to Conway; the evening is wet and wild, though the day was fair chiefly, with some gleams of sunshine.
“However, we are sheltered in a comfortable inn. My cold is not worse. If you get this scrawl tomorrow and write by return, direct to me at the post office, Bangor, I may get it on Monday.
“Say how you and Miss Wooler got home. Give my kindest and most grateful love to Miss Wooler whenever you write. On Monday, I think, we cross the Channel. No more at present. Yours faithfully and lovingly, CBN.”
Wales was an entirely new country to the bride, and its historic associations were sure to have interested her. On the Friday the couple started for Bangor, and spent the weekend there before travelling to Ireland.
Charlotte Brontë isn’t the only famous guest to have stayed at the Castle Hotel. Past guests include the 18th century lexicographer Samuel Johnson, the poet William Wordsworth, whose visit to Conwy inspired his poem We Are Seven, the engineers Robert Stephenson and his father George, who were guests at a banquet to celebrate completion of the tubular bridge at Conwy.
Dr Stephen Colclough, lecturer in Victorian literature at Bangor University, is hosting a talk at the RCA called Picturing the Brontës on April 5 at 7pm. (Mari Jones in North Wales Weekly News)

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