Leeds & West Yorkshire

Bronte table brought back to Haworth Parsonage

The Bronte table Image copyright Bronte Society
Image caption Ann Dinsdale, of the Brontë Parsonage, said: "It is one of the most important literary artefacts of the 19th Century"

A table at which the Brontë sisters wrote has been brought back to the family home in Yorkshire after being purchased with a grant of £580,000.

The Bronte Society at Haworth said the table was a "most evocative" 19th Century literary artefact.

It was sold along with other household effects from the Brontë Parsonage after the death of Patrick Brontë in 1861.

The mahogany drop-leaf table's purchase came after a grant from the National Heritage Memorial Fund (NHMF).

Ann Dinsdale, collections manager at the Haworth Parsonage, said "It is one of the most important literary artefacts of the 19th Century."

Among the novels written by the sisters in the parsonage were Emily Bronte's Wuthering Heights, Charlotte's Jane Eyre and Anne's The Tenant of Wildfell Hall.

The table has ink blots, a large candle burn and a letter E carved into its surface.

  • 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 of each other 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

The table was where the children gathered to write their stories, poems, and novels, the society said. It featured in an 1837 diary sketch by Emily, showing herself and her other sister Anne writing.

Image copyright Bronte Society
Image caption The Bronte Society said the table was where the children gathered to write their stories, poems, and novels

After the death of their father, Patrick Bronte, the table was bought by a Mr Ogden. The Ogdens later sold it on and eventually the museum was approached about buying it back.

The table was previously loaned to the Bronte Parsonage Museum for a short period in 1997, to mark the 150th anniversary of the publication of Jane Eyre and Wuthering Heights.

Carole Souter, chief executive of NHMF, said it was important the table "should be saved for the nation so that it can be displayed to the public in its original setting".

The table will be on public display in the parsonage's dining room from February.

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