Charlotte Brontë

© National Portrait Gallery, London

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Charlotte Brontë

by George Richmond
chalk, 1850
23 5/8 in. x 18 3/4 in. (600 mm x 476 mm)
Bequeathed by the sitter's husband, Arthur Bell Nicholls, 1906
Primary Collection
NPG 1452

Sitterback to top

Artistback to top

  • George Richmond (1809-1896), Portrait painter and draughtsman; son of Thomas Richmond. Artist or producer associated with 330 portraits, Sitter in 14 portraits.

This portraitback to top

Brontë's publisher, George Smith, commissioned this portrait of the novelist from Richmond as a gift for her father, who saw in it 'strong indications of the genius of the author'. Elizabeth Gaskell recalled seeing the portrait hung in the parlour of the Haworth parsonage, and a copy of it appeared in her biography.

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Events of 1850back to top

Current affairs

Cardinal Wiseman, a Catholic priest who had exerted a strong influence on the Oxford movement, is made a Cardinal and leader of the Catholic church in England, thus restoring Roman Catholic hierarchy in England.

Art and science

Death of poet laureate William Wordsworth; his great autobiographical poem The Prelude is published posthumously, famously charting the growth of the poet's mind.
Tennyson's In Memoriam is also published. A poignant record of his grief over the death of his friend Arthur Hallam, the poem also movingly questions the strength of faith in an increasingly scientific age.

International

Up to 50,000 pioneers travel west in wagons on the Oregon trail in the United States, one of the main overland migration routes across the continent. Spanning over half the continent, the trail led 2,170 miles through territories and land which would later become six US states, including Kansas, Wyoming and Oregon, helping the US to implement its goal of Manifest Destiny - building a nation spanning the North American continent.

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