Good news! The Parsonage was able to buy the two Brontë-related letters which were auctioned at Christie’s yesterday as part of the Albin Schram collection which has been featuring in the national news.
The first is a letter from Charlotte to William Smith Williams written in November 1849, in which she flays the critics of Shirley. An extract from the letter is in Margaret Smith's collection, but the entire letter is unpublished. The Parsonage attempted to buy the letter in 1999 but missed out - so it is even more satisfying to have got it now at a good hammer price - £18,500.
The second letter is from Patrick: “In this letter, Mr Brontë writes to George Taylor, one of the trustees of Haworth Church, on behalf of Enoch Thomas, one of his churchwardens. He is clearly concerned about Thomas’s well-being and believes that ‘his friends ought to do for him all that lies within their power’. After attempting to interest George Taylor in Thomas’s plight, Mr Brontë goes on to enquire after Taylor’s own family.
"It is a letter which challenges the notion that the Brontës had little contact with the world outside their parsonage home, and that Patrick Brontë was a selfish recluse who took little interest in the lives of his parishioners.”
Again the letter was missed out on in 1999, but has now been purchased for a very reasonable £2600