Saturday, 4 February 2017

Simon Armitage launches 'Mansions in the Sky'

Mansions in the Sky - The Rise and Fall of Branwell Brontë

Simon Armitage appeared in front of a substantial number of guests in the School Room to launch the exhibition/installation which he curated. This is situated in Branwell's Room and in the Bonnell Room of the Parsonage. Here is what he wrote for the leaflet produced for the event:

Among the flurry of recent and forthcoming Brontë anniversaries, 2017 belongs to Branwell, charismatic and complicated brother to the now famous sisters. Born in June 1817, great things were expected of the only son of the family; working with the Brontë Parsonage Museum in his bicentenary year has given me the opportunity of exploring some of Branwell's early talent for art and literature, and the chance to reflect on the disappointments of his early years. As a poet of this landscape and region I recognise Branwell's creative impulses and inspirations. I also sympathise with his desire to have his voice heard in the wider world, a desire encapsulated in a letter sent to William Wordsworth in 1837, when Branwell was a precocious and determined nineteen year-old, seeking the great man's approval. The poem he enclosed describes the dreams and ambitions of a young and hopeful romantic, star-struck by the universe and building 'mansions in the sky'. But those mansions were only ever hopeful fantasies, and Branwell was to die unrecognised and unfulfilled, forever assigned the role of the dark and self-destructive brother, doomed to be eclipsed by the stellar achievements of his sisters.

Throughout the year a number of events and exhibitions will celebrate and mark Branwell's legacy, all stemming from the centrepiece of the anniversary, the recreation of his room within the Parsonage. We welcome you to enter this chaotic and frenzied space as if you were entering the mind of the man himself. And we invite you, dare you even, to discover more about the notorious Branwell whose personality and imagination were so integral to the Brontë story as a whole.
                                         (Simon Armitage, Creative Partner)

Simon Armitage was born in West Yorkshire and is Professor of Poetry at Oxford University.

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1 comment:

Jane Sunderland said...

I'd be in people's views on Branwell's 'early talent'. Did this lie equally in his painting and writing? Did he have the potential that his sisters went on to display?