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Becoming the Brontës

The Brontës are Yorkshire’s very own world-famous literary family. But how did they become the icons we know today?

This intimate display explores the creative beginnings of Charlotte, Emily, Anne and Branwell Brontë – from little books produced as children to poetry manuscripts and rare first editions of their most celebrated works.  

‘Becoming the Brontës’, within the Treasures of the Brotherton Gallery, brings together material from the Blavatnik Honresfield Library that has not been seen by the public for over 80 years.

The exhibition is co-curated by the University of Leeds, the British Library and the Brontë Parsonage Museum.


Charlotte Brontë, “Visits in Verreopolis by Lord Charles Wellesley in Two Volumes”, 7-11 December 1830. This item is jointly owned by the British Library, the Brontë Society (Brontë Parsonage Museum) and the University of Leeds (Brotherton Library). 

Image credit: Mark Webster Photography / University of Leeds.


The Blavatnik Honresfield Library

The campaign to save the Blavatnik Honresfield Library was led by the Friends of the National Libraries and a consortium of libraries and writers’ houses.

The acquisition was made possible thanks to the exceptional munificence of Sir Leonard Blavatnik and of the National Heritage Memorial Fund (NHMF).

Success would also not have been possible without the hugely generous support of each of the consortium institutions and of very many funders including:

The Prince of Wales Charitable Foundation

The Murray Family

Camelot Group

The Foyle Foundation

The David Cock Foundation

The T S Eliot Foundation

Hugh and Catherine Stevenson

Berkeley Foundation

British Library Collections Trust

American Trust for the British Library

B. H. Breslauer Fund of the American Trust for the British Library

The Ardeola Trust

Tracy Chevalier

The Vogel-Denebeim Family

The Penchant Foundation

And the many philanthropists, trusts and foundations who prefer to remain anonymous, and the thousands of individuals who made personal donations to the appeal.