Brontes’ colourful tastes revealed

Bronte Parsonage Museum A portrait of Charlotte Bronte hangs with the new wallpaper in the dining room

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The former home of the Bronte sisters has been returned to the design of the authors' era after researchers found fragments of its original decor.

The house, which is now a museum in Haworth, West Yorkshire, reopens after a refurbishment on Friday.

"It's closer than it's ever looked to how it would have done in the Bronte period," said Bronte Parsonage Museum collections manager Ann Dinsdale.

"Charlotte put her stamp on the house, and there's quite a lot of colour."

Researchers from the University of Lincoln examined sections of the walls, and in some places found 18 layers of paint and wallpaper dating back to the sisters' habitation in the mid-19th Century.

The Bronte sisters

  • Charlotte, Emily and Anne Bronte were 19th Century novelists who formed one of the world's most famous literary families
  • Often left alone together in their isolated Haworth home, all three sisters began to write stories at an early age
  • Charlotte's Jane Eyre and Emily's Wuthering Heights are hailed as British classics. Anne's The Tenant of Wildfell Hall was a huge bestseller
  • Tragedy struck the family when Emily and Anne both died of tuberculosis within six months in 1848-49. It also killed their brother, Branwell
  • Charlotte continued to write and later married, but she too was killed by the disease in March 1855

Source: BBC History

"They came up with the strata, all the layers of paints that had been used over the years in the parsonage and they were able to work out which was the Bronte period," Mrs Dinsdale said.

"All the historic rooms, which are part of the original parsonage, have been completely redecorated."

Charlotte, Emily and Anne Bronte lived with their father and brother in the parsonage. Enduring literary masterpieces written there include Charlotte's Jane Eyre and Emily's Wuthering Heights.

The sisters are particularly remembered for their depictions of the surrounding bleak landscape and their characters' emotional turmoil.

"I think people are possibly going to be quite surprised when they visit the parsonage," Mrs Dinsdale added.

"People have this image of [it] being quite austere with white and grey walls. Actually, it's very clear that they did experiment with colour."

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