1817 - 1848

 

Branwell Bronte was the only brother of the Bronte sisters.
Born on June 26, 1817 he spent much of his life trying to find his lot in life. Branwell may have had a promising career as his sister Charlotte had done, but for the most part, he made attempts at occupations which seemed to fail due to his addiction to opium and alcohol. When at home, Branwell spent much of his time at the Black Bull, a local inn, carousing with his friends or taking boxing lessons. In his early youth he was a witty and stimulating companion, and many a time the landlord would send for him to entertain visitors staying at the inn. In later years it is said that Emily used to collect him at night when his wits and legs became too weak to steer him safely home. Charlotte was said to be truly impatient with her brother's condition. When she, Emily and Anne spent their evenings writing, and subsequently became published, Branwell was kept in the dark. He had spent much of his father's money and they feared that
he would find out about their success.
When Emily worked as governess, she got Branwell a job as well, but when he had an affair with the employer's wife, he was dismissed and left broken hearted which seemed to lead to his total downfall.

Branwell spent his remaining years in ill health and at his death bed, said:
"I am dying! In all my past life, I have done nothing either great nor good."
   
Branwell did however, leave us with one of the few, if only, family portrait. He had originally painted himself in the center of the portrait but later took himself out. He had studied regularly with his father and used to paint in oils which was regarded as study for what might eventually be his profession. The family had high hopes for him. Later years, this painting would be found by Charlotte's husband, Arthur, folded and creased in a drawer and is now a part of the Bronte Society in Haworth, England.
Left to right: Anne, Emily, (Branwell), Charlotte.
 


 Suggested Reading

The Infernal World of Branwell Bronte
by Daphne Du Maurier
 

Charlotte | Emily | Anne | Family | England | Poem

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