British photographic history

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Whilst researching a lady named Nancy Garrs, for Undercliffe Cemetery, I came across a newspaper article dated 1877 saying that Nancy had on her wall at home a photograph of Miss Brontë on glass. It goes on to compare this with the portrait in Elizabeth Gaskell's book. So we can be pretty sure it was referring to Charlotte.

Nancy Garrs was employed by Patrick Brontë to be Charlotte Brontë s nurse and worked for eight years for the Brontë family at Thornton and Haworth. Later she was given gifts by Patrick, Charlotte and Emily. These were her Bronte relics.

In her 80s she became a widow and didn't have enough money to support herself. She was taken in at the Bradford workhouse and although she didn't want to part with the relics she had to.

It seems that Nancy's nephew, a chap named Widdop took ownership of some, if not all of the relics. When Widdop put a photograph of Charlotte on display in 1885 it was described as follows.

"These include an excellent photograph of Miss Charlotte Brontë taken in around 1855, taken apparently when that distinguished novelist was some 25 or 30 years of age"

My question is; with the photograph being described as a photograph on glass would that make it an Ambrotype or is there any other type of photograph that would be given that description in 1877 ?

Thanks

Steve Lightfoot

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Replies to This Discussion

Hi Steve- the description (1877) is inept; the chubby, contented, post-menopausal person in profile is Charlotte's self-proclaimed 'best friend' Nell Nussey. I can vouch for the 'caped' group photo (c. Nov '42-Jan '43) and 2 pics of Charlotte recently found, from about time of marriage Spring 1855 I think published/discussed on this site. v. best, James

Thats really interesting ,I would assume if she knew the Brontes personally she would know it was Charlotte ,it might be useful to post on a Bronte FB page or site to ask if anyone knows anything about it 

Hi Lynn

The Bronte museum have some of Nancy's relics but not the photograph.

Steve

Lynn Cunliffe said:

Thats really interesting ,I would assume if she knew the Brontes personally she would know it was Charlotte ,it might be useful to post on a Bronte FB page or site to ask if anyone knows anything about it 

Do you use Fb ? I think a lot of people on Bronte pages would be really  interested 

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