Autograph manuscripts and letters
The Henry Houston Bonnell Brontë Collection, bequest of Helen Safford Bonnell, 1969
These manuscripts, three in minuscule handwriting, are the work of a group of unusually imaginative teenage siblings. When they were children, the Brontës began inventing characters and scenarios as part of their creative play. Over the years they built a complex web of stories and poems about made-up kingdoms, informed by their extensive reading of literary works and contemporary news. In the notebook on the upper left, Charlotte describes a palace garden with strong echoes from The Arabian Nights. Below left, Branwell describes battles and intrigue in the Angrian chronicle. Above right, Anne's poem is written in the voice of an imprisoned heroine from the kingdom of Gondal. Below right, Emily's poem describes a dream visit from a ghostly figure.