Brontes new pet theories

Keighley News: Ann Dinsdale gets gloved-up to help clean the delicate objects on display Ann Dinsdale gets gloved-up to help clean the delicate objects on display

Do you have pet theories about the Brontë sisters?

You can check them out by visiting this year’s major new exhibition at the Brontë Parsonage Museum.

The temporary exhibition focuses on animals in the Brontë family’s lives, including their pet dogs.

The Brontës And Animals also explores how animals featured in Brontë novels, such as Jane Eyre and Wuthering Heights.

Collections manager, Ann Dinsdale, said: “All the Brontës loved animals and had a wide variety of pets at the Parsonage. Animals also play an important part in the stories – such as Mr Rochester’s dog, Pilot, and Cathy in Wuthering Heights being bitten by a dog.”

The exhibition features many of the Brontës’ paintings and drawings of animals, letters referring to animals, illustrated editions of the novels and dog collars from their pets.

The Brontës And Animals is the centrepiece of the 2014 season at the museum in Haworth, which reopens today. The museum’s winter closed season has lasted longer than usual this year because staff were making major alterations to the way in which they welcome visitors.

In the past, visitors entered through the Parsonage’s front door, and queues regularly formed in the garden as they bought tickets in the cramped porch.

Now visitors will still enter through the front door, but only after buying tickets in the nearby museum shop, which has been refurbished.

This year’s other temporary exhibition focuses on the Brontës’ relationship with the railways.

The railway arrived in Keighley at the same time as the Brontës lived in Haworth, and Branwell Brontë worked as a railway clerk.

The exhibition ties in with one of the Brontë Society’s newest acquisitions, which will be displayed prominently during 2014. This is a miniature portrait of Mrs Hudson by Charlotte Brontë, who travelled by train to Bridlington to stay with the woman in the mid-1800s.

Another new item on show from today will be the ‘Belgian essay’, an autographed manuscript by Charlotte bought by the Brontë Society for £50,000 at the end of last year.

The Brontë Parsonage Museum will be open daily from 10am to 5pm until April, when the closing time extends to 5.30pm.

Visit bronte.org.uk or call 01535 642323 for further information.

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