The Honresfield Library, which has re-emerged after nearly 100 years in obscurity, will move up for auction at three individual auctions. Emily’s poems are supposed to fetch somewhere within £800,000 and £1.2m. The first version of her famous novel Wuthering Heights could get within £200,000 and £300,000.
Emily Bronte’s handwritten poems
An annotated Brontë family photograph of Bewick’s History of British Birds – famously referenced in the opening sheets of Jane Eyre by Emily’s sister Charlotte – could work for in £30,000 – £50,000, estimates suggest. Emily Brontë was unknown primarily as a writer during her lifetime but wrote her passionate love story Wuthering Heights in 1847 before dying of tuberculosis a year later. The people will have the opportunity to see highlights from the library at exhibitions in London, Edinburgh, and New York.
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Bewick’s History of British Birds
According to Sotheby’s, the new rare pieces “open a window onto the short but amazing lives” of the Yorkshire siblings. The library also incorporates a compendium of poems, notes, personal letters, and ideas by the Scottish bard Robert Burns while he was an unknown 24-year-old. The collection was last auctioned at Sotheby’s in 1879, for £10.
The library was initially compiled by Rochdale mill-owners Alfred and William Law, who was brought up less than 20 miles from Haworth in Yorkshire, where the Brontës lived. The brothers remained together at Honresfield House near Rochdale, which had been established for William in 1879.
“Showcasing the intensity of the literary importance of Alfred and William Law, the collection as a whole-paints a unique portrait of the emotions of one of the greatest and least-known accumulating families from a golden age of book collecting,” said Sotheby’s English literature and historical manuscripts specialist, Dr. Gabriel Heaton.
When Alfred died – William ought predeceased him – his nephew, called Alfred Law, obtained his estate, including the library. But the library went into obscurity after the younger Alfred expired in 1939.
“When the library disappeared from public view in the 1930s, many believed it had disappeared, and to now perform a role in taking it to a broader audience is a true career highlight,” Dr. Heaton said. The selection of more than 500 pieces will go on sale at three separate auctions set to secure place this year and next.
Other items in the Honresfield Library comprise:
- Jane Austen first editions, including Persuasion, Emma, Northanger Abbey, Pride and Prejudice
- A copy of Don Quixote printed in 1620 for Shakespeare publisher Edward Blounte
- An annotated copy of Alfred Lord Tennyson’s poems revealing his changes
- The complete manuscript for Sir Walter Scott’s 19th-century novel Rob Roy
- Little-seen letters to and from the peers of novelist Elizabeth Gaskell, Hartley Coleridge, and George Smith – publisher and winner of The Bells, which was the Bronte’s secret pseudonym
- Works from Homer, Ovid, the Grimm Brothers, Montaigne, Charles Dickens, Ann Radcliffe, Horace Walpole, and Mary Wollstonecraft also appear.
Emily Brontë, in full Emily Jane Brontë, pseudonym Ellis Bell, (born July 30, 1818, Thornton, Yorkshire, England—died December 19, 1848, Haworth, Yorkshire). Emily Brontë, an English poet, and novelist produced Wuthering Heights (1847), a highly creative work of emotion and hate set on the Yorkshire moors. Emily was reasonably the greatest of the three Brontë sisters. Still, her life story is highly meager, for she was silent and reserved and left no correspondence of interest. Her single novel deepens rather than explains the mystery of her spiritual presence.