London’s National Portrait Gallery Celebrates Charlotte Brontë

Charlotte Brontë by George Richmond, 1850 (Courtesy: National Portrait Gallery)

To mark the bicentenary of Charlotte Brontë’s birth, the National Portrait Gallery in London is offering visitors a glimpse into the personal life of the famed English author.

The exhibition, ‘Celebrating Charlotte Brontë 1816-1855’, which opened on February 22, displays Brontë’s personal items, original manuscripts and works of art and explores her life and creative development. Central to the exhibition is the presentation of the only surviving painted portraits of the Brontë sisters Charlotte, Emily, and Anne, by their brother Branwell. New research into the portraits, other chalk drawings of Charlotte, and portraits of her heroes and associates such as the Duke of Wellington, Lord Byron and William Thackeray will also be presented alongside Branwell’s portrait.

Many of the items and works on display have never been previously seen, and are on loan from the Brontë Parsonage Museum, the birthplace and home of the Brontë family. The exhibit also represents one of the National Portrait Gallery’s largest ever loans. Assistant curator for the exhibit, Lucy Wood says: “This is a rare opportunity to view one of our most iconic portraits…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”.

Celebrating Charlotte Brontë 1816-1855 is on display at the National Portrait Gallery, London (Room 24, 1/F) from now till August 14, 2016. Admission is free. 

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