'Lost' Bronte Photograph In Ewbank Auction A photograph of the father of the Brontė sisters, lost to the literary world since 1898, has been discovered at an antiques fair and will be sold by Surrey fine art auctioneers Ewbank on June 24-25.
News-Antique.com - Jun 07,2009 - A photograph of the father of the Brontė sisters, lost to the literary and art world since it was auctioned in 1898, has been discovered at a provincial antiques fair and will be sold by Surrey fine art auctioneer Ewbank Clarke Gammon Wellers. The sale is on June 24-25.
The faded sepia photograph of the Rev Patrick Brontė. still in its original oval gilt frame, was uncovered among papers in an old Ilford film box. With it was a dog-eared copy of the 1898 auction catalogue for the dispersal of The Museum of Brontė Relics conducted in The Strand by Sotheby Wilkinson and Hodge. The portrait photograph had previously been on display along with other Brontė mementoes at the Temperance tearooms in Haworth, in Yorkshire where the family lived.
A foreword to the 1898 sale catalogue reads: A large proportion of these relics was given by members of the Brontė family at various times to William Brown (father of Mr Robinson Brown), Sexton at Haworth Church during 20 years of the Rev P Brontės incumbency, and to his niece Martha Brown, who for many years lived in the Brontė family. Those relics which were not inherited from these relatives by Mr Robinson Brown, he acquired from Mr A Gledhill, Keithley; Miss Nussey; Mr W Scruton, Bradford and others; a few were purchased by him in the locality.
A further note reads that the collection of 107 lots was to be offered for sale in one lot with a reserve price. It adds: If this sum be not realised, it will then be sold in detail as catalogued. The latter course was taken.
It is not known how much was raised by the sale of the photograph, which was Lot 105 in the catalogue, but the sale was not well received. In her book Strange World of the Brontės (Sigma Leisure 2001) author Marie Campbell states that when Robinson Browns Museum of Brontė Relics closed, it had been hoped to sell the treasures at the Chicago Exhibition but it was not to be. A further attempt to auction 107 lots was made on Saturday 2 July 1898 at Sothebys. Even this failed to attract many serious bidders. Amongst the effects that didnt receive a bid at all were J.H. Thompsons oil portrait of Charlotte [Brontė] and her dolls cradle. The Brontė Society spent just under £20 on the day, purchasing several Brontė mementoes. An unfinished counterpane worked by all three sisters was knocked down for £1.2s (£1.10), a signed watercolour of Annes pet dog Flossy for £12, a lock Charlottes of hair belonging to Martha Brown and taken after her [Charlottes] death cost £1.14s (£1.70), while yet another fetched double that amount.
An inscription on the reverse of the portrait, which was presumably the original museum description, reads: Rev P Brontė; Various relics including an oval photograph framed and glazed, a small china blue and white plate often used by him and a sword stick. The photograph was owned by