AN oil painting believed to be of author Emily Bronte will be the latest item relating to one of the literary sisters to go under the hammer.
The piece is being sold by Northamptonshire firm JP Humbert Auctioneers after the sale of another painting of the reclusive writer for £23,836 in December.
It also follows the sale of an unpublished manuscript by sibling Charlotte Bronte at auction to a Paris museum for a record value of nearly £700,000 last month.
The hitherto unseen painting of Emily Bronte measures 33cm by 24cm and depicts a pensive-looking Victorian woman, auctioneer Jonathan Humbert said.
Annotated Emily Jane Bronte, it has more unclear writing, possibly an artist’s name or title, he said.
The painting was handed to the auctioneers by a private owner after seeing publicity around the previous portrait, and is expected to fetch at least £3,000.
“I am amazed that this second painting has turned up on our doorstep,” Mr Humbert said.
“One unknown portrait of Emily Bronte is luck enough but two in two months is quite remarkable.
“This painting is definitely mid-19th century and has been attributed to Miss Bronte by the artist at the time of painting.”
The portrait is set to go on sale, unreserved, on February 23 at JP Humbert’s sale room in Towcester, Northants, with a provisional estimate of £3,000-4,000.
Last month a tiny manuscript of The Young Men’s Magazine, Number 2, by Charlotte Bronte, sold for £690,850 at Sotheby’s.
It was bought by Paris museum La Musie des Lettres et Manuscrits, scuppering attempts by the Bronte Society to return it to the Bronte Parsonage Museum at the writer’s home in Haworth, West Yorkshire.
Written when Bronte was 14, the tale is set in Glass Town, the earliest fictional world created by the Bronte siblings.
Sotheby’s estimated it would sell for between £200,000 and £300,000, but the manuscript sold for more than double the top estimate, setting new auction records for a manuscript by Charlotte Bronte and for a literary work by any of the Bronte sisters.
In a less high-profile sale on the same day, a portrait of sibling Emily Bronte sold for twice its estimate - fetching £23,836 - at JP Humbert’s.