Portrait of Bronte Sisters Sold for £50,000
A watercolour portrait of the Bronte sisters has been sold for £50,000.
The artwork is the earliest known painting of the Haworth novelists.
It is believed to be the work of Sir Edwin Landseer and is only the second group portrait of the sisters in existence.The anonymous seller was given the portrait a decade ago. He had successfully bid for a different work but, when he arrived to collect it, was told it had been lost.
By way of apology, he was offered a painting of three women for the same price of "a couple of hundred pounds". He accepted and set about trying to identify the sitters, intrigued that one of them held a notebook and pen.
Richard Ormond, a Landseer expert, has identified it as one of the artist's works. He said it is "undoubtedly related" to a pastel drawing in the archives of the National Portrait Gallery, attributed to Landseer.
The artist is thought to have met Charlotte, Anne and Emily in 1833 when they visited Bolton Abbey in North Yorkshire, where he was an artist in residence. At the time, he was a young painter, yet to become a favourite of Queen Victoria. The portrait is dated 1834.
JP Humbert, a Northamptonshire auctioneer that specialises in Brontë memorabilia, has sold the portrait for £50,000.
Jonathan Humbert said: "The seller bought the painting when another auction house lost his original purchase and offered this to him as a substitute.
"He had no idea who the sitters might be but thought it was quite well done."
Clues in the picture include the detail of "Charlotte's protruding front tooth" and a bracelet and brooch that match objects on display in the Brontë Parsonage, said Mr Humbert.
"We are never going to be able to prove anything 100 per cent because this is a cold case," he said.
"But it has been widely accepted by the establishment as a Landseer portrait of the Brontës, as shown by the fact that it came from nowhere and sold for £50,000."
The new owner is a private art investor who plans to commission further research and sell on the painting at a later date.
- News Editor
- Keighley Local News