A BRONTE MYSTERY

No photos of the Bronte Sisters are known to exist but one intriguing image remains unexplained.

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This photo, entitled "The Bronte Sisters," was found in France and purchased to help illustrate a book. The book wasn't Bronte-related and the photo wasn't thought to be of any great interest.

It was later discovered that there were no photos of the Bronte Sisters and the present research began.

A photo on glass,1. it dates from the 1850s, and written on the back in French is “Les Sœurs Brontë.” Although Emily and Anne died in the 1840s, copies were made of their other portraits in the 1850s, one by a photographer from France.

The website explores whether this is just a staged portrayal of the Bronte Sisters, or a copy of an earlier, genuine photograph.

You can compare these ladies with images and descriptions of the Bronte Sisters and there's research on the fashions, early photography and the artist friends of their brother, Branwell.

Whether these are the Bronte Sisters or not, the ladies resemble...

LEFT: Charlotte Bronte (1816–55) CENTRE: Emily Bronte (1818–48) RIGHT: Anne Bronte (1820–49).

1. This is a photo on glass and the correct English term is 'wet-plate collodion positive' but the American term 'ambrotype' is also widely used both sides of the Atlantic. So as not to confuse people, we refer to it as a 'photo on glass' throughout this website.