Monday, 21 June 2010

That letter

The hammer has descended, and the letter from Charlotte Brontë to William Smith Williams, dated October 18, 1848 – is now on its way from the auction room in New York to the Parsonage. Written just after the death of Branwell and at a time when Emily was displaying distressing symptoms of Tuberculosis (she died three months later), the letter is highly significant, even though there are no references to these things.

“It talks about her ill health,” Collections Manager Ann Dinsdale told the Parsonage Blog, “perhaps caused by her deep unhappiness.

I followed the auction online in the Parsonage library with Sarah Laycock. We watched the auction results as they came in, with some excitement, and we knew exactly when we’d got lot number 278. Because of the high estimates, we bid only for this one.

One of the three letters was withdrawn, so I suppose we could always negotiate for it. The hammer price was 55,000$, but that was the hammer price: you’ve got to add twenty five percent buyer’s premium to that."

(Full news release later)

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