Brontë portrait miniature returns to family home
A portrait by Charlotte Brontë will go on display at her family home in Yorkshire for the first time in 170 years, after being bought with help from the Art Fund.
The miniature shows Sophia Hudson, a friend of the Brontës whose stay at the family parsonage in 1839 was recorded in a letter from Charlotte to her friend Ellen Nussey. Charlotte gave the portrait to Hudson as a gift, and it was passed on first to her niece, then to her son, before going missing in 1895.
It resurfaced in 2001 at a sale in Nottingham and was bought by miniatures collector Esme Valerie Eliot, widow of the poet TS Eliot. In 1990 Valerie had established the Old Possum's Practical Trust, a charity to support projects in the arts, and following her death in 2012 the miniature was put up for sale through the trust. With help from the Art Fund, it was bought by the Brontë Parsonage Museum, where it will go on display to the public for the first time.
Sally McDonald, Chairman of the Brontë Society Council, said: 'The Brontë Society is delighted to be bringing this little gem back to the parsonage for members and visitors alike to enjoy. We would like to thank all those whose generosity has made the return of the miniature possible.'
The portrait will feature in the Brontë Parsonage Museum's 2014 display, The Brontës and the Railways.