Sir John Soane’s Museum is a gem that is tucked away just a stone’s through away from The British Museum at Lincoln’s Inn Fields, London. The historic house is a museum and library of the distinguished 19th century architect Sir John Soane. The house has been left untouched since his death almost 180 years ago – and is certainly one of the most exciting and unique places to visit in London for lovers of architecture and art, not only today but already at the time when the writer Charlotte Brontë visited London.
In an exquisite display, the curator Charlotte Cory has compiled a beautiful selection of objects to tell the story and celebrate the life and work of the inspiring writer and character of Charlottë Bronte, marking the 200th anniversary of her birth. Perhaps the boldest object in the exhibition is Charlotte Brontë’s blue evening dress, but the attention to detail becomes apparent when the incredibly passionate and knowledgeable curator Charlotte Cory talks about sketches, Brontë’s account book and an extraordinary daguerreotype, just to mention a few of the objects shown.
In particular, a portrait of Charlotte Brontë caught our attention; one of the most popular artworks at The National Portrait Gallery is a fragment of an oil painting of two of the Brontë sisters, painted by their brother Branwell. At the Soane’s museum we can now see a portrait of Charlotte Brontë, which is also fragment, painted in a very similar, if not the same style – is this one of the missing fragments of the same painting?
The small but well curated exhibition is accompanied by a guide that includes a map of London with places that Charlotte Brontë would have visited during her London visits – the perfect start for exploring the city in Charlotte’s footsteps.
We highly recommend listening to Charlotte Cory’s BBC Radio 4 drama series CHARLOTTE BRONTË IN BABYLON about Charlotte Brontë’s five trips to London as a published author, during which she fell for her publisher George Smith.
This Friday, 18 March, Soane’s house will also welcome guests for a toast to Charlotte Brontë during a special candlelit evening with drinks and live readings (visit the website for further details).