New Celebrating Charlotte Brontë exhibition opens at the National Portrait Gallery

Date Posted: 24/02/2016

A large display of personal items, original manuscripts and works of art can now be viewed at the National Portrait Gallery to mark the 200th anniversary of Charlotte Brontë.

The exhibition will run from now until the 14th August and will explore the author’s life, creative development and professional success.

Celebrating Charlotte Brontë will include paintings and drawings by Charlotte herself, letters and journals and the famous little books created by the Brontë sisters as children – including the first book Charlotte ever made.

Also on show is a pair of cloth ankle boots worn by Charlotte, first editions of Jane Eyre – her first published novel – and Elizabeth Gaskell’s biography, The Life of Charlotte Brontë.

One item central to the whole display is new research into the only surviving painted portraits of Charlotte and her two sisters, Emily and Anne, by their brother Branwell. The research explores the story of how the portraits were discovered folded on top of a wardrobe.

The exhibition also includes chalk drawings of Charlotte and her friend and first biographer Elizabeth Gaskell by George Richmond, and portraits of Brontë’s heroes and associates such as the Duke of Wellington, poet Lord Byron and novelist William Thackeray.

Lucy Wood, assistant curator commented, “This is a rare opportunity to view one of our most iconic portraits, which is on permanent display in our 19th Century galleries, alongside exquisite personal treasures from the Brontë Parsonage Museum.

"The display illuminates Charlotte Brontë’s life and literary career and celebrates her remarkable contribution to British literature. Anybody interested in the Brontës will find this an unmissable experience.”

For more information visit www.bronte.org.uk.

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