The National Portrait Gallery has announced a major new display of personal items and manuscripts to mark the 200th anniversary of the birth of author Charlotte Bronte. 

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Charlotte Bronte by George Richmond, 1850. (c) National Portrait Gallery, London. 

The display will explore the author’s life, creative development as well as her success professionally. It will feature portraits from the gallery’s collection and 26 items from the Brontë Parsonage Museum, birthplace and home of Charlotte and her family. It will also be one of the museum’s largest ever loans, some of which have never previously been seen.

Running at the gallery from the 22nd February to the 14th August 2016, Celebrating Charlotte Bronte  will feature a number of objects that will give visitors an insight into the life and career of one of Britain’s most famous novelists.

Highlights of the exhibition will include: paintings and drawings by Charlotte, letters and journals, the famous ‘little books’ created by the Brontë sisters as children and first editions of her first published novel Jane Eyre – which is still very popular and widely read today.

At the heart of the display will be the presentation of new research into the only surviving painted portraits of Charlotte with her two sisters, Emily and Anne, by their brother Branwell, in the Gallery’s Collection. It will explore the story of its discovery folded on top of a wardrobe, subsequent acquisition by the Gallery and its restoration.

Lucy Wood, Assistant Curator, says: ‘This rare chance to see the only painted portrait of Charlotte Brontë alongside illuminating personal treasures from the Brontë Parsonage Museum provides a fascinating opportunity to celebrate her life and remarkable achievements as one of the most celebrated authors of the 19th century’.

Celebrating Charlotte Bronte: 1816-1855 is on at the National Portrait Gallery from the 22nd February to the 14th August 2016. Admission to the display is free for visitors. 

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