The Remains of Henry Kirke White, with annotations by the Brontë family

Item author: Robert Southey
Item date: 1810
Grant Value: £10,000 from FNL's B. H. Breslauer Fund
Item cost: £800,000
Item date acquired: 2016
Item institution: Brontë Parsonage Museum
Town/City: Haworth
County: West Yorkshire

A two volume copy of The Remains of Henry Kirke White, Of Nottingham, Late of St. John’s College, Cambridge with an account of his life (1810) by Robert Southey. The book is a rare surviving possession of Mrs Maria Brontë, whose box, containing all her property, was shipwrecked off the Devonshire coast just before her marriage to Patrick Brontë in 1812. The book is heavily annotated by various members of the family and includes an unpublished poem by Charlotte.

It is described as 'the ultimate Brontë book, assembled by Patrick Brontë as a lasting memorial to his remarkable literary family’. The insertions and annotations include, in addition to 19th cent. provenance notes and documents: a note by Patrick Brontë: 'I had the honour of being acquainted at the university with the subject of this memoir , and have every reason to think that the praise bestowed upon him whether it respected his ginnius [sic] or piety, was well merited’; an apparently unpublished autograph MS of a poem by Charlotte Brontë of 40 lines; a 2 page autograph letter by Arthur Bell Nicholls, in response to a letter of condolence on his wife’s death; a 2-page MS of 38 lines, said to be in the handwriting of Emily Brontë, recounting events in Haworth in 1833; two Latin inscriptions by P.B. Brontë, the first reading in translation, 'This was the book of my dearest wife and it was preserved from the waves. Therefore it should always be preserved’.

This grant was awarded from FNL's B. H. Breslauer Fund, thanks to the generosity of the President and Officers of the B. H. Breslauer Foundation.

 

 

Patrick Bronte's inscription inside The Remains of Henry Kirke White. Image courtesy of Bronte Society.
Patrick Bronte's inscription inside The Remains of Henry Kirke White. Image courtesy of Bronte Society.
Fragment of Charlotte Bronte poem contained inside the volume. Image courtesy of Bronte Society.
Fragment of Charlotte Bronte poem contained inside the volume. Image courtesy of Bronte Society.