Saturday, July 18, 2015

Do you remember this photograph? We posted about it several months ago. Now 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)
Grace Dent has re-read Jane Eyre and she is, clearly, not a Rochester lover. In The Independent:
And Jane Eyre should never have got tangled up with that berk Rochester. The way he's treated poor "mad" first wife Bertha – locking her in an attic with a piss-head minder – bodes very badly. When I was a teen, Rochester seemed attractively brooding and sardonic – a bit like Matt Dillon in Rumble Fish – but with the passing of the years he's turned into a tedious mard-arse and zero fun to share a big fire-damaged house with in the middle of nowhere.
The Yorkshire Evening Post recommends the Keighley and Worth Valley Railway:
The track steams through Brontë Country, stopping at Haworth, where you can step back in time and see the landscapes which inspired Emily’s novel, Wuthering Heights.
And for even bigger step back into Victorian England, the Railway runs a vintage bus service from Haworth and Oxenhope stations to the Brontë Parsonage on occasional Sundays, where you can take advantage of discounted entry to the famous Brontë household. 
And Keighley News recommends a visit to the Stanbury pubs:
Coming from Haworth, the Wuthering Heights Inn is the first pub on the right. The pub dates from 1763 and has been run by Nicci and Darren for the past eight years.
The pub has a traditional main bar area with a log burner and a range of old photographs showing the history of the village. Adjoining this is the cosy dining room with a Brontë theme and another log burner. Traditional home-cooked meals are served daily. (David Knights)
The Arts Desk celebrates very young and precocious writers:
The Brontë children, various: Gondal and Angria
Before technology visualised childhood monsters on a screen, literary families would write their own, and the Brontës, you suspect, had plenty of source material. Gondal and Angria, the violent and (in later editions) erotic illustrated fantasy worlds created together by the three sisters and their brother Branwell blend contemporary allusions and the wildest invention, in a kind of Games of Thrones in tiny notebooks.(Matthew Wright)
The Telegraph interviews the comedian Bridget Christie:
Her winning show, A Bic for Her, was full of feminist material – gleaned, in part, from years of sexism she had encountered in the long haul upwards – that caught the zeitgeist. It was named after a ballpoint pen in pastel shades with a ‘comfort grip’ that was marketed exclusively to women. ‘I expect that’s why the Brontës were so s*** at writing,’ she said in her act. ‘Their pens were so uncomfortable and drab. (Louise Carpenter)
Catherine Bennett satirises the 'standing evangelists' in The Guardian:
Can you believe people still complain about standing on the tube? Plus, if you try it, you immediately feel the boost in concentration because of blood circulation to the brain. Then there’s productivity – honestly, it’s not just scientists saying it, Dickens used to stand, Philip Roth stands all the time, and look how many books he wrote. I keep thinking what could have happened if only Emily Brontë had had a standing desk and an anti-fatigue mat?
Helen Rumbelow in The Times about idealism in novels:
That’s life’s reality, but not the stuff of inspirational art. If you want that, don’t grow up. Never find out that Holden Caulfield ended up a whiny trust-fund snob. Avoid any sequel to Lord of the Flies in which Ralph becomes a politician forced into cutting child benefit. Or the grim work of social realism where Mrs Jane Rochester (née Eyre) is a dutiful carer to her disabled husband but in the dark hours of the night wonders where her life has gone.
Also in The Times Sathnam Sanghera criticises the excessive use of jargon by the EU:
Also, there is nothing intrinsically wrong with the portmanteau. Examples litter great literary works from Great Expectations to Jane Eyre, everyday language (the word mockumentary comes from the merging of mock and documentary, alcopop from alcohol and pop, and Breathalyser from breath and analyser), as well as business life (Microsoft derives from the words microcomputer and software, Accenture, from accent and future, and Groupon from group and coupon). 
The Irish Times describes a walk in the Slieve Blooms Mountains, Co Laois:
Here, convenient way-markers hand-railed me across murky, wind-tortured moorlands that evoked images of Wuthering Heights and had me half expecting a brooding cloaked Heathcliff to appear dramatically from the mist. (John G O'Dwyer)
The Toronto Star reviews the miniseries Tut:
Produced by Montreal’s Muse Entertainment, which gave us The Pillars of the Earth and The Kennedys, it looks set to deliver on the mandate to widen the audience. Part of that is perhaps because expectation levels are so low. No one was expecting Jane Eyre. (Tony Wong)
The Dromore Leader announces a local performance of the Chapterhouse Theatre Jane Eyre UK tour;  on Liminal Scratch Pad, Katherine Skoretz from Out Loud Theatre discusses Jane Eyre as a theatre piece. Behold the Stars explores Virginia Woolf's views on Jane Eyre and Wuthering Heights. Books with Chemistry reviews Jane Eyre.

1 comment:

  1. I think Ann Dinsdale, is being kind and diplomatic about that photo.

    Must every image of three women near or from their era be declared the Brontes? Do these women in the least resemble the known images? Of the three , the one in the middle could possibly be 4 feet 10 inches ( Charlotte's size ) is it claimed the one on the right is the light brown haired Anne Bronte?? She looks significantly older than the other two...frankly they don't look related .

    They are wearing all their worldly goods to be photographed as well . Would such " trumpery" be likely from the Evangelical Brontes? and as always would it be likely that Emily would look so fashionable ?

    If only Branwell took up photography ...sigh...but he didn't

    Who wouldn't want a photo of the Brontes? That doesn't make it for the likelihood of Brontes having photos taken, I will point out Arthur Bell Nicholls 's 2 honeymoon photos are of himself alone and looking glum . Plainly he could not convince his bride to join him . To get Charlotte to sit for even a drawing, ( to someone besides her brother ) it took George Smith asking her at the height of their flirtation, and it was to be gift for Papa .