Tuesday, November 05, 2013

ITV News reports:
A rare miniature portrait by Charlotte Brontë is to go on public display for the first time at the Brontë Parsonage Museum in West Yorkshire.
The portrait of an East Yorkshire farmer's wife called Mrs Hudson was painted by Charlotte on a visit to their farm near Bridlington in 1839.
The painting was feared lost until the turn of this century when it was bought by a collector. It has now been acquired by The Brontë Society which runs the museum at Haworth.
The Brontë Parsonage Facebook page shares more details:
Exciting news! We have acquired a portrait miniature painted by Charlotte Bronte!
Purchased from Christie's, this portrait depicts Mrs Hudson of Easton Farm, Bridlington, whom Charlotte and Ellen Nussey had once stayed with. The portrait was given to Mrs Hudson by Charlotte and remained in the family until it went missing in 1895. It resurfaced in 2001, when it was acquired by Mrs T. S. Elliot, and it is now returning to Charlotte's home where it will be on display to the public for the first time.
In conjunction with this happy occasion, Ann Sumner will be giving a talk about about the art of miniature painting in the wider Victorian context, and the impact of early photography on portrait painting.
Wednesday 6 November, 2pm
West Lane Baptist Centre, Haworth
Tickets £5 / Contact Louisa Briggs louisa.briggs@bronte.org.uk / +44(0)1535 640188 to book.
And even more details can be found on the Brontë Society's website.
The sitter for this portrait miniature is Mrs Hudson of Easton Farm, Bridlington, referred to by Charlotte in a letter to her friend Ellen Nussey, in 1839. The two women had recently stayed with Mrs Hudson and her husband John, and it was during this visit that the miniature was probably painted, as Charlotte Brontë's second visit to the Hudsons, in 1849, was a much more sombre event, occurring just after the funeral of Charlotte's sister Anne, at Scarborough.
The portrait was given to Mrs Hudson by Charlotte and remained in the family, being passed on first to Mrs Hudson’s niece, Fanny Whipp, who, in turn, left it to her son. In 1895 the tiny painting went missing, and nothing more was heard of it for over one hundred years. It was feared lost, until it reappeared at a sale at Neales in Nottingham in 2001 where it was acquired by the late Mrs T. S. Eliot, a major collector of miniatures. It is now returning to Charlotte’s home at the Brontë Parsonage Museum in Haworth, West Yorkshire, where it will be on display to the public for the first time.
Sally McDonald, Chairman of the Brontë Society Council told us, ‘The Brontë Society is delighted to be bringing this little gem back to the Parsonage for members and visitors alike to enjoy. We would like to thank all those whose generosity has made the return of the miniature possible.’
Professor Ann Sumner, Executive Director of The Brontë Society said, “We are absolutely thrilled to have acquired this significant and very fine example of Charlotte Bronte’s miniature painting. It is one of her last such portrait miniatures painted during a happy month spent with her friends the Hudsons at Easton House. In this charming work she captures her friend in profile. The provenance of the miniature is also impressive. We are enormously grateful to all those who have supported our fundraising campaign to acquire this work and to Christie’s for negotiating this acquisition. The portrait will next year be on show in a new display on The Brontës and the Railways because Charlotte Bronte travelled for the first time by train in 1839 en route to visit the Hudsons. She took the train from Leeds to Selby.”
Jo Langston, Head of Department, Portrait Miniatures, Christie’s London said, “Christie’s is delighted to have been able to facilitate the acquisition of this portrait miniature by The Brontë Society. The work will now return to the Parsonage where it will join the other rare examples of portraiture by Charlotte Brontë.”
The present miniature is a rare example of portraiture in Charlotte Brontë's artistic oeuvre. Although she dedicated herself to drawing, and had hopes early on of becoming a professional artist and miniature painter, Charlotte's skills lay in copying and imitating landscapes, not portraits. Charlotte, and her sisters, like most middle-class women of the early 19th century, had originally been taught to draw via the medium of copying. Engravings, and Romantic landscapes, such as those included in the works of Lord Byron, were favourites of Charlotte. She became an accomplished amateur with an excellent eye for detail, displaying two copies of engravings at an art exhibition at Leeds in 1834, but she soon came to realize that her inability to paint from her imagination and her lack of originality in her compositions would impede her as a professional artist. She focused her efforts on writing instead.
This portrait of Mrs Hudson belongs, stylistically, to a group of works already in the Brontë Society collection, which includes miniature portraits by Charlotte of her mother, youngest sister, Anne, and close friend Ellen Nussey, with whom she visited the Hudsons.
The item was part of the collection of the late Mrs T.S. Elliot which will be auctioned next November 20 at Christie's:
SALE 1187 LOT 201
Lot Description
A young lady called Mrs Hudson, in profile to the left, in black dress, white lace shawl pinned with a jewelled brooch, wearing a white lace bonnet tied with a blue ribbon, curling brown hair
on card
oval, 2½ in. (64 mm.) high, gilt-metal mount within rectangular black wood frame
A paper label on the reverse is inscribed 'Painted by Charlotte Brontë Mrs. Hudson, Easton W. Bridlington the 'Mrs. H' mentioned /in Mrs Gestell's Memoirs'.
Mr John and Mrs Sophia Hudson (née Whip);
Fanny Whipp North;
Edward Roundell Whipp North.
Neales Auction House, Nottinghamshire, 29 November 2001.
With D. S. Lavender (Antiques) Ltd., in 2001.
Minae Mizumura's retelling of Wuthering Heights, A True Novel, has made it to the list of 'books to watch out for: November' compiled by The New Yorker's Page-Turner.
A True Novel” (Other Press), by Minae Mizumura, translated by Juliet Winters Carpenter, out November 12th. This novel is being marketed as a retelling of “Wuthering Heights” set in postwar Japan. Like Emily Brontë’s classic story of stormy love, the events in Mizumura’s novel are relayed through layers of narrators. Here, the story crosses oceans and decades, and the characters’ fortunes are carried on the economic and cultural waves of the twentieth century. Mizumura, who moved to America with her family when she was a young girl, then moved back to Japan as an adult, injects elements of autobiography into the story’s primary voice, a novelist named Minae who grows up in New York. Through flashbacks and retellings, the book recounts the life of Taro Azuma, a man who emigrates from Japan to the United States after being rejected by his childhood love. He becomes wealthy, then returns home to try to win her back. (Andrea Denhoed)
BBC News tells about the plans for the demolition of Mary Webb's Spring Cottage.
Gladys Mary Coles, president of the Mary Webb Society, which has some 160 members, described the proposals as "shocking" and said Spring Cottage was important "not just to Shropshire, but internationally".
"She's known as the Thomas Hardy of Shropshire, so it's like people going down to Max Gate in Dorset, or the parsonage where the Brontës wrote in Yorkshire.
"It's [Spring Cottage] where she got her inspiration, it's where she wrote her work.
"She designed it herself, just three rooms. It was solace and peace for writing."
Julia Barrett's World has begun reading Villette while The Jane Austen Project writes about Wide Sargasso Sea.


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