Monday, 7 July 2008

Emily portrait comes home to Haworth

Arts Officer Jenna Holmes writes:

A National Portrait Gallery Loan and rare poems manuscript return to Haworth for first time in nearly 150 years to crown the 2008 exhibition No Coward Soul at the Parsonage.

As part of the 2008 exhibition focusing on Emily Brontë, the museum is delighted to able to display her Gondal poems notebook and a rare portrait of Emily painted by her brother Branwell. Both of these items are currently on loan to the Parsonage for a limited time only.

In 1861, after the Brontës had died, the Gondal poems notebook left Haworth for Ireland with Charlotte’s widower Arthur Bell Nicholls. Following his death in 1907, the manuscript was auctioned in a sale at Sotheby’s and purchased by Mrs George Smith, widow of Charlotte’s publisher. It was then bequeathed to the British Library in London by the Smith family and for the first time since 1861, returns to the Parsonage where it was originally composed.

The iconic portrait of Emily by her brother Branwell was once part of a larger painting called ‘The Gun Group’ portrait. It was cut out by Arthur Bell Nicholls on the death of Patrick Brontë in 1861 and was later found on top of a wardrobe along with ‘The Brontë Sisters’ portrait (also by Branwell) by Arthur’s second wife Mary Ann Nicholls after his death.

It is now owned by the National Portrait Gallery. This is a very rare opportunity for visitors to see the portrait outside of its usual London location.

Special loans and No Coward Soul exhibition 2008 – Ann Dinsdale Collections Manager – 01535 640198

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