2. Briefly, the Brontë Photograph

The photograph in full, a wet-plate collodion (photo on glass) c.1850. Mr Haley, the primary researcher, believes it to be a copy of an earlier daguerreotype (the original being c. 1847-8). Note the fascinating ‘gypsy straws’ and thick cloaks possessed by Charlotte on the left and Emily in the middle. Anne on the right by contrast is in a thinner cloak, very similar to one worn in a pencil drawing of her by Charlotte from 1833 (even features the same clasp).

The nature of our enquiry (that we can draw some conclusions about the Brontës’ appearances) is a finite one – there are only going to be so many sources that we can cite, and so many images that we can share. So I will try to take my time and approach the subjects with some stealth and steadiness. Hopefully, you are interested in what I have to say. Lord knows I find it fascinating enough to write about, so perhaps there shall never be a time where I am rendered speechless..!

One source that I have become intensely interested in is the alleged Brontë photograph, and I do not anticipate that this will be the last you hear about it. About a year ago, I did a selection of drawings of the three Brontë girls, and based them on the photograph (and I still draw the girls a lot like this). The images below detail the basic method I went through when planning; overlaying the photograph’s faces on top of existing images and then drawing from that stimulus.

What do you think? Could they be the girls? E x

Left: Anne, by Charlotte, 1834. Middle: Charlotte, by George Richmond, 1850. Right: Unknown woman (thought to be Elizabeth Branwell (but I think it’s Emily)) c. 1834 (nb. the similarity to Anne’s miniature – the two complement each other).

As above featuring the faces of the photograph’s sitters – Anne, Charlotte, and Emily. Adobe Photoshop collage, 2015.


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