Unseen First Edition Set of Brontë Sisters’ Works Estimated to Sell for $100,000-150,000
In the week following the 198th birthday of Charlotte Brontë, a complete first edition set of the novels by the three Brontë Sisters will be offered for sale for the first time in a sale of Important Books and Manuscripts, held by Dreweatts & Bloomsbury Auctions on Monday 19 May at their saleroom in London’s Mayfair.
Published under the sisters’ pseudonyms, the complete set includes one on the most famous novels in the English language, Wuthering Heights, by Emily Brontë. The other works comprise Jane Eyre, by Charlotte Brontë, 1847; Agnes Grey, by Anne Brontë, 1847; The Tenant of Wildfell Hall, by Anne Brontë, 1848; Shirley, by Charlotte Brontë, 1849; Villette by Charlotte Brontë, 1853; The Professor, by Charlotte Brontë, 1857; The Brontë Family with special reference to Patrick Branwell Brontë, 1886.
The sisters started writing at a young age to escape the tragedy of their mother’s death and the death of their two older sisters. They also took inspiration from the countryside around their home in the village of Haworth, Yorkshire, where they lived with their brother Patrick Bramwell.
In 1846 they devised pen names that would disguise their gender whilst preserving their initials, thus Charlotte, Emily and Anne became Currer, Ellis and Acton Bell. ‘Bell’ was the middle name of Haworth’s curate Arthur Bell Nicholls, whom Charlotte later married.
The set was collected by American lawyer Thomas Lincoln Chadbourne (1871-1938), founder of Chadbourne & Parke, it was passed to his daughter Marjorie Chandbourne, and then by descent in the family. It is the first time they have ever been offered as a collection at auction, and together they are estimated to sell for £60,000-80,000. [Lot 67]