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Bronte painting could make £40k at auction

14th July 2017

A newly rediscovered painting believed to be of the Bronte sisters could make £40,000 at an auction, after it was previously removed from sale. 

According to the BBC, the piece was attributed to Queen Victoria’s favourite artist Sir Edwin Landseer and is being sold by JP Humbert from Whittlebury, Northamptonshire. Jonathan Humbert originally removed the painting from auction in 2012 as he believed it to be of “national importance”.

If the painting is proven to be of the Brontes, it will only be the second known portrait of the literary sisters ever, with the other currently being showcased in the National Portrait Gallery.

The item is being made available “without reserve” in an online-only auction that finishes this Sunday. At the moment, a bid of £9,850 has already been made. 

Mr Humbert told the news provider: “Interesting new evidence has now come to light that a black bracelet featured in the painting worn by Anne Bronte is known to now be in the Bronte Parsonage Museum Collection.

"This link to a known museum artefact supports the other well-documented facts that this painting is a bridge between the literary and art worlds and is indeed a painting of national importance.”

He went on to say that the Brontes and Landseer originally met when he visited Yorkshire in the 1830s, highlighting the long history of the painting.

Richard Ormond OBE, who is a leading authority on Landseer’s creations believes the piece is connected to a pastel drawing, allegedly of the Brontes, that he made two years earlier. The image is now held on file at the National Portrait Gallery. 

Mr Ormond suggests the portrait was picked up by mistake when the current owner bought a painting from an auction house in the south west that could not be located. As an alternative to the lost piece, the buyer purchased the Bronte painting. 

When the work of art was removed from auction in 2012, research took place to identify a link between the sisters and Landseer. 

While Landseer was based in London, the Bronte sisters lived in Haworth, West Yorkshire from 1820 to 1861 after Reverend Bronte became the village’s curate. Their home was the Haworth Parsonage, which has now been transformed into the Bronte Parsonage Museum. 

On the other hand, Landseer was always closely connected with his home of London and developed a legendary reputation for his paintings of animals. He designed the Trafalgar Square lion sculptures that remain to this day. 

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