Archive for Charlotte Brontë

Did the Real Charlotte Bronte Just Stand Up? The Debate

Posted in BRONTE with tags , , , on March 16, 2011 by echostains

Quite a while ago I wrote a post about the portraits of Charlotte Bronte, speculating on how she may have looked.  The discussion was furthered by Mr James Grozny, owner of a mysterious painting he aquired at auction.  He speculated that his painting (which can be seen below) was by the artist Edwin Landseer and features the sisters Charlotte, Emily and Anne Bronte.  The research has been a slow, painstaking –  yet fascinating process and Mr Grozny believes he has nearly solved the mystery.  All can be explained in the comments and corrospondence over at Echostains (sister site).  Anticipating that a debate is ahead, I have decided to dedicate a page to this interesting subject and wish for all further comments to be posted here.  It’s a shame I can’t repost the comments here, but here are the last two to whet your appetite!  To keep up with the story from the beginning – please read the comments over on Echostains  from the original post;-

 Did the Real Charlotte Bronte Just Stand up?

The Bronte sisters by Branwell  
The Bronte sisters by Branwell Bronte

This is a follow up to my post called ‘Will the Real Charlotte Bronte Please Stand up? ‘ This was written a while ago.  I tried to establish what Charlotte Bronte really looked like (and didn’t get anywhere lol!)  This subject still fascinates me though, so I was intrigued to read recently that James Gorin Von Grosny from Devon had bought a painting whom he believes are the Bronte sisters, painted by Edwin Lanseer.  The connection with Lanseer and the Bronte’s comes about through Ellen Nussey’s brother being a friend of his.

could this be a fresh portrait of the Bronte sisters? could this be a fresh portrait of the Bronte sisters?
Now, before you dismiss this claim as outlandish and unlikely, Mr Von Grosny puts up a formidable arguement  defending his claim and a lively debate is going  on the Bronte blog HERE.  It makes fascinating reading and  Mr Von Grosny addresses many issues regarding the work.  It is obvious that he has done a lot of research into the Bronte’s and has a genuine interest in them.
closer up
closer up

 Even the way that the owner aquired this portrait is unusual in itself (read it HERE).  The whole story is intriguing and I am keeping a very open mind.  After all, we have so many portraits, each differing of Charlotte: so many conflicting descriptions of her appearence.  For example, even the samples of her hair differ.  I was at the Bronte Parsonage yesterday and saw three different examples, purported to be Charlottes hair.  There was a necklace made of fair hair, a mourning card with red blonde hair and a very dark lock of hair which is confusing. So why SHOULDN’T this portrait be of the Bronte’s? We don’t know for a fact it isn’t so far.

the knee sketch
the knee sketch 

The reverse of the painting contains a sketch of a knee.  Mr Von Grosny asserts that this ties in with a painting that Charlotte did of a shepherdess with the same scar below the knee.  It is thought to be a self portrait.  There is so much to the story of this painting – the suspense is killing me lol!  But just because I WANT it to be the Bronte’s, won’t make it so, but evidence will.  I can assure you that Mr Von Grosny is busy collecting it!  This portrait has a tale to tell I feel, and I want to hear it!

Constructive comments are invited

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Poll ‘Which Bronte are you?’

Posted in BRONTE, Poll with tags , , , , on March 12, 2011 by echostains

Cast yourself back into the 1830’s.  Out on the winding windy moors…sorry coming over all Kate Bush here.  You live in an old draughty parsonage overlooking a muddy overcrowded graveyard which frequently floods.  You live on a diet of mainly potatoes, your drinking water isn’t all it should be and your under 5 ft tall. You share the draughty house with your clergyman Father, who’s getting on in years, your equally old Aunt Branwell, monied but quite tight fisted with it.   You have one servant, Martha Brown who is more like one of the family and she frightens the living daylights out of you with her  ghost stories as you and the other children sit around the fire in the evening  with the wind wuthering around the house. We’ve all been there.  But – which Bronte are you?  which Bronte do you think you are most like – and why?

I’ll go first.  I can’t claim to be the Full Bronte so I suppose I would be most like a hybrid of Branwell (I won’t be told, highly strung and always getting into hot water and the pub :-))  The other half would be Charlotte (small, stroppy, bossy and likes writing 🙂

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Dear Reader I Read it Book Review ‘Branwell Bronte’s Barber’s tale’ by Chris Firth’

Posted in BRONTE, Dear Reader I read it! Book reviews with tags , , , on February 23, 2011 by echostains

Well I have just finished Branwell Bronte”s Barbers Tale by Chris Firth.  It has taken me ages too.  It’s not a particularly thick book but I have been reading it before I go to sleep and eking it out.  I really enjoyed this tale of intrigue, mystery and supposition.  The authors description of the barbers habitat and the area sets the period in context.  This was of particular interest to me because of an ancestor who was a Master barber. He born in that time period (but not in the place, which was abroad though he worked in Liverpool).  The detailed descriptions of the shop, the neighbourhood and the public houses are delightful – you can almost smell the place!

 

The story itself is very well researched and the character of MacCraw, well rounded –    pathetic and brave by turn.  Crippled by the sudden death (murder) of his young wife the fellow ‘Rhymer’ can not come to terms with his loss which  ages him rapidly as he spiralls downwards onto the slippery slope of the drinking dens of his youth.  Reliving his love and the comradeship of the Rhymers (which of course include Branwell), the barber becomes intent in proving to the world that Branwell was the true author of Wuthering Heights‘.

In this book Branwell comes across as loud, garrulous and extremely talented (as he was, so it’s probably a good sketch of him).  He is a very boisterous character, highly strung and imaginative.  He is scared stiff of his sisters though – particularly Charlotte.  Whether this was true in real life we will never know – but it is indeed fun speculating.  And this is what this book does very well – speculates.  I have often speculated myself about the possibility of Branwell being the real author of ‘Wuthering Heights’.   I think that it would have to be chisseled into stone before it would be accepted even if true,  plus where would this leave Emily?  The lone mysterious mystic who roamed the moors….   Well, we would still have her beautiful poetry.

Perhaps inadvertently, Gaskell gave this theory strength by her condemnation of Branwell by his sisters.  By painting Branwell black to show, this served to show just how much his poor sisters had to put up with. Coupled with Charlotte’s impatience with her brother it may well have been advisable to leave him out of things.  But on the other hand – wouldn’t the sisters be pleased if Branwell was saved by success? wouldn’t it be just the thing he needed to drag him out of his apathy?  They obviously weren’t pleased to see his talents dissapated, so why not give him a lift?. Then again, perhaps they may have thought that fame may have gone to his head and made his vices worse….  So many questions and no easy answers. 

I recommend this well written book, authentic in style as a rip roaring tale of intrigue, speculation and detail of the world the Bronte’s inhabited.  A lovely extra is MacCraw’s recipes or remedies from his journal – which I found very interesting indeed and which again brought the story into it’s period context.

Please note: – This book was read last year, this review has only just been found amongst my drafts.