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A Misplaced Brontë Library Surfaces


The Honresfield Library took form not removed from the parsonage on the fringe of the West Yorkshire moors, the place Charlotte, Emily, Anne and their brother, Branwell (born between 1816 and 1820), grew up creating elaborate shared imaginary worlds. It was assembled beginning within the Eighteen Nineties by Alfred and William Legislation, two self-made mill homeowners who had grown up lower than 20 miles from the Brontë house in Haworth (which is now the Brontë Parsonage Museum).

The Legal guidelines’ assortment, held within the library at their house, Honresfield Home, included what Heaton known as “grand country-house books” like a Shakespeare First Folio (lengthy since bought off). However the brothers, much less sometimes, had been additionally eager collectors of manuscripts, buying the Brontë cache from a supplier who had purchased them instantly from Charlotte’s widower. William, the extra severe collector, additionally paid frequent visits to Haworth to purchase household relics that had been saved by neighbors and family.

After the deaths of the brothers (who by no means married), the gathering handed to a nephew, who granted entry to pick students, and had facsimiles fabricated from some objects. However after his demise in 1939, the originals fell out of public view.

By the Nineteen Forties, the gathering had turn into “well-nigh untraceable,” as one scholar put it on the time. In latest a long time, some artifacts from the gathering, like Charlotte’s writing desk (now on the Brontë Parsonage Museum), have come up for public sale. However the whereabouts of the remainder remained unclear.

“After I was first approached about this materials, I assumed, ‘Grasp on — perhaps it’s that assortment?” Heaton recalled. “To then go truly see it was fairly a thrill.” (The sellers, who want to stay nameless, are household descendants of the Legal guidelines, he mentioned.)



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