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A miniature portrait will be among items on show in London to mark the 120th anniversary of the Brontë Society.A letter from a reader to the Dewsbury Reporter vindicates Branwell Brontë and tells about an interesting project which we hope will see the light:
Guests at the celebration at Christie’s tomorrow [today, 18th February] will be treated to a glimpse of the collection from the Brontë archive. The collection includes the miniature portrait of Mrs Hudson by Charlotte Brontë, which was recently purchased by the society.
Mrs Hudson of Easton Farm, Bridlington, was referred to by Charlotte Brontë 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 thought to have been painted.
Charlotte Brontë’s second visit to the Hudsons in 1849 was a much more sombre event, as it occurred just after the funeral of her sister, Anne, in Scarborough.
The Brontë Society, believed to be the earliest literary society in the English speaking world, is now a thriving organisation with an international membership devoted to the legacy of the famous literary sisters from Yorkshire.
The first meeting of The Brontë Society took place in the Town Hall, Bradford, on Saturday 16th December 1893, and was attended by more than 50 people.
A committee was formed which met on January 13, 1894, with Lord Houghton being appointed the society’s first president and 11 vice-presidents, including the publisher George Smith, were created. Today, the society’s president is acclaimed playwright, novelist and critic Bonnie Greer.
The executive director of the Brontë Society, Ann Sumner, said: “We wish all our members a very happy 120th birthday and hope that visitors will celebrate with us this very special occasion.
“We have a long and fascinating history as well as great opportunities ahead with the upcoming bicentenaries from 2016, when we celebrate the bicentenary of Charlotte Brontë.”
A recent episode of Michael Portillo’s Great British Railway Journeys dealt with Branwell Brontë, brother of the famous literary sisters Charlotte, Emily and Anne and the time he worked at Sowerby and Ludden railway stations as a clerk in West Yorkshire.Amanda Craig writes in The Telegraph about not being able to find any other female friendship in literature like the one between Jane Eyre and Helen Burns.
Branwell is noted for his alcohol consumption and opium taking but he was a successful poet and painter in his own right, and doesn’t always get the credit that his talents fully deserve.
Charlotte and Branwell cared for each other. They were inspired by their poems and he once walked 40 miles to visit her at the Rydings in Birstall. He declared he was leaving her in paradise, with lawns, chestnut trees, fruit gardens and a rookery. Rydings is believed to have partly inspired Thornfield Hall in Charlotte Brontë’s novel Jane Eyre.
On another occasion Branwell walked 20 miles to visit Charlotte at Roe Head School in Mirfield.
Simon Zonenblick, a librarian in Leeds, living at Sowerby Bridge, is hoping to produce a short documentary film in March covering the period in which Branwell Brontë worked as a railway clerk. If anyone can help Simon with information on Branwell Brontë, please contact him at email@example.com. (John Appleyard)
It is depressing that neither popular nor highbrow culture can seem to get its head around the way that women, too, can have genuine friendships. Books set in single-sex boarding schools like Angela Brazil’s once celebrated this. But in literature, the only one I can think of comes in Jane Eyre, between the heroine and her saintly fellow-pupil Helen – who is, of course, dying.We will give this some thought but surely there are more instances?
Mia Wasikowska (24)At any rate, infamous is an adjective that would have never occurred to us to apply to Jane Eyre.
Having played the lead in Alice in Wonderland, Wasikowska has proven her skills over and over with a touching portrayal of the infamous literary heroine Jane Eyre. . . (Amanda Keats)
Anthony Turner talks ‘Jane Eyre lady’ inspired hair. A really strong centre parting, which was finger dried flat describing it as almost “Pin Head” like.The Brontë Parsonage Museum Facebook page shows Emily's diary paper with a sketch showing Keeper and Flossy. Interestingly, they add,
A fly away vail of hair stuck over the face, acting as a webbed effect, which was pulled tight over the ears into a Low nape pony.
A Romantic Ghost with an eerie and ethereal finish feeling graceful as models float down the runway. (Ky Wilson)
This diary paper is believed to be in a private collection somewhere in the USA.Allison and Busby posts about Jane Eyre and Jane, the Fox and Me.