British photographic history

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There is new information on the website.

The profile portrait of Emily Bronte at the National Portrait Gallery in London is disputed since 1914 and may be of Anne Bronte.

Photography in the time of the Bronte sisters.

Portraits of Emily Bronte based on Anne Bronte

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It explains that the portrait is Emily but why its sometimes thought to be Ann.Overall the portrait resembles Emily and not Ann ,who had fairer hair.

This link you posted is to the catalogue description of the 'Profile' portrait at the National Portrait Gallery, in London. The information below was taken from the website a few years ago. It explains why people do not have confidence in the official position:

A long line of historians dating back to 1914 did not trust the National Portrait Gallery, or the Bronte Society, in their identification of the 'Profile' portrait as Emily. These included Mrs Ellis Chadwick, Clement Shorter, Charles Simpson and Daphne du Maurier who all believed it to be Anne. The catalogue description was then published, but this was 50 years ago and many of the main arguments have been obsolete since the discovery of a photo of the 'Gun Group' over 25 years ago.

It is now known that a collodion photo of Branwell's 'Gun Group' portrait was taken in the 1850s. From this photo an engraving was created for a book (in 1880), where the figures are identified by the Bronte's servant, Martha Brown. The 'Gun Group', where the figures were identified by Ellen Nussey, was a copy of this engraving. In both cases the right hand figure, the NPG 'Profile' portrait, was identified as Anne. What had been considered “dubious” in the 1970s catalogue description was legitimate and true.

In some attempts to identify the 'Profile' portrait historians have relied mainly upon documented evidence and refused to make any comparison to other portraits, or the tracings, or descriptions of the sisters. This seems incomprehensible given that Emily and Anne were quite different in appearance. It is easy to differentiate between them, just by looking at the shape and angle of the nose.

The BBC TV film "To Walk Invisible" (2016) aimed to present a less sentimental and more accurate depiction of the Bronte sisters. A copy of the lost 'Gun Group' portrait was commissioned and featured in the Haworth Parsonage set.

This painting was recreated by the artist Timna Woollard with the actors' features replacing those of the Bronte siblings. It was not by accident that Charlie Murphy (Anne Bronte) was placed to the right of the group; this is of course the figure in the controversial NPG 'Profile' portrait.


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