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Portrait of Charlotte Bronte, © Charlotte Cory

Brontëmania: Pick of Brontë200

27 February 2016 Lydia Cooper

Brontë200 is a five-year programme instigated by the Brontë Parsonage Museum and the Brontë society, which celebrates 200 years since the births of the Brontë siblings. In 2016, it’s Charlotte’s bicentenary, followed by Branwell in 2017, Emily in 2018 and Anne in 2020. In 2019, there will be a commemoration of Patrick Brontë, their father, and the 200th anniversary of his acceptance of the post at Haworth Parsonage. Here is a guide to what’s on in the upcoming year for Brontë fans, from exhibitions to radio shows and late evening celebrations.

Charlotte Brontë at the Soane

Sir John Soane’s Museum will unveil a fascinating display to celebrate Brontë200. The show centres around five trips to London that Charlotte made in order to see her publisher, after the huge success of Jane Eyre in 1847. Artist Charlotte Cory has curated the show, and historical objects of interest will be juxtaposed with her own art which responds to Brontë. The show will include Brontë’s personal guidebook that she used to explore the city on her visit, and a dress that she wore to a dinner with her publisher. The guidebook features Sir John Soane’s Museum itself, which was one of the few landmarks around when Brontë visited London: Cory’s exhibition imagines what might have happened if Brontë had visited the Soane. It seems appropriate that the Brontë effects will be displayed in a setting contemporaneous with her writing: the house was designed in the nineteenth century.  The show will include previously unseen sketches of the Brontë sisters, drawn by Anne, which were discovered by Cory during her research.

You can see the exhibition at Sir John Soane’s Museum from 15 March - 7 May 2016.

 

Charlotte Brontë: A Celebration

This candlelit evening at the Soane is designed to celebrate Brontë in conjunction with their exhibition. They promise pop-up live readings of Jane Eyre, her masterpiece, in the Museum’s atmospheric interiors. Visitors can wander around the new exhibition at night-time, and listen to curator Charlotte Cory explain her inspiration for the show, and the provenance of some of the fascinating objects on display. There will be complimentary gin cocktails, made by Colonel Fox, and a wine tasting with Joseph Mellor, so visitors can toast Brontë’s birthday in style.

Tickets are £30 for the evening late; more information can be found on the Soane’s website.

 

Celebrating Charlotte Brontë at the National Portrait Gallery

This small display at the National Portrait Gallery will explore Charlotte’s life: the main attraction is the revelation of new research into the only surviving portraits of Charlotte, Emily and Anne Brontë, painted by their brother Branwell. The intriguing story behind the discovery, the National Portrait Gallery’s purchase of the works and the restoration process will be revealed.

The show is at the National Portrait Gallery until 14 August 2016.

 

Happy Birthday Charlotte at the British Library

This evening Late at the British Library will be held in association with Sir John Soane’s Museum. There will be a series of readings, bite-size talks, and a lot of gin to mark the bicentenary of Charlotte’s birth. The details of specific events will be released closer to the time, so keep an eye on their website for details.

The evening will take place on Thursday 21 April. Tickets are from £10 and available from the British Library website.

 

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