Brontë letter detailing interest in ‘Governess-life’ to go under the hammer

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A LETTER from Charlotte Brontë hinting at her motivation to write is to go under the hammer.

The three-page letter, which is expected to fetch between £10,000 and £15,000 when it is auctioned at Bonhams book, maps, manuscripts and historical photographs sale in London on June 12.

The recipient of the letter, a Miss Holmes, lived for a while with the family of William Makepeace Thackeray and greatly irritated the author of Vanity Fair with her constant attempts to convert him to Catholicism.

Writing to Miss Holmes, who had sent her an – unidentified – book to read, Charlotte said: “I own I prefer the study of the human being – to that of the human being’s requirements.”

She also comments on the life of a governess – her own former occupation and that of the heroine of her best known novel Jane Eyre – saying: “I must feel a degree of interest in the details of a Governess-life.

“That life has on me the hold of actual experience; to all who live it – I cannot but incline with a certain sympathy; and any kind feeling they express for me – comes pleasantly and meets with grateful acceptance.”

Meanwhile, an exhibition of the costumes from the recent film adaptation of Jane Eyre has gone on display at the Brontë Parsonage Museum in Haworth.

The film, released last year, starred Mia Wasikowska, Michael Fassbender, and Dame Judi Dench and was nominated for an Oscar for Best Costume Design at last year’s Academy Awards.

The film’s costume designer, Michael O’Connor, had previously won an Oscar for his work on the 2009 film The Duchess, starring Keira Knightley and Ralph Fiennes.

The exhibition at the museum features outfits worn by Mia Wasikowska and Michael Fassbender, as well as other members of the cast including Jamie Bell as St John Rivers and Sally Hawkins as Aunt Reed.

The costumes will be on display in the period rooms of the museum until September 20.

Arts officer Jenna Holmes said: “Michael O’Connor created a beautiful set of costumes for the film, using original techniques of making from the 1840s, and with real attention to detail right down to his choice of fabric, stitches and thread.

“It is a real privilege to see these items up close and we know that the exhibition will be very popular with our visitors.”