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Correspondents in the letters of Branwell Brontë: Leyland

Branwell Bronte letter fragment
Explore the Brotherton Collection of letters written by Branwell Brontë.
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Branwell Bronte - Myself crop
University of Leeds Library Special Collections, Letters from Branwell Brontë
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Page 3, Branwell Brontë, Letter addressed from 'Haworth, Bradford, Yorks'; with pen and ink sketch entitled 'Our Lady of Grief'
Short biographies of Branwell Bronte's correspondents. Part of the Brontë collection at the University of Leeds Special Collections.
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Branwell Bronte – Alas! Poor Caunt!
Short biography of Branwell's life over the period of Letters from 1842-1848. Part of the Brontë collection at the University of Leeds Special Collections.
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Pen and Ink Sketch by Branwell
Description of Branwell's Artwork in his letters from 1842-1848. Part of the Brontë collection at the University of Leeds Special Collections.
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Branwell Bronte - Paradise and Purgatory drawing
Description of Branwell's Artwork in his letters from 1842-1848. Part of the Brontë collection at the University of Leeds Special Collections.
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Page 2, Branwell Brontë, letter to Joseph Bentley Leyland
Description of Branwell's Artwork in his letters from 1842-1848. Part of the Brontë collection at the University of Leeds Special Collections.
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Portrait of Joseph Bentley Leyland
Description of Branwell's Artwork in his letters from 1842-1848. Part of the Brontë collection at the University of Leeds Special Collections.
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Branwell Bronte - John Brown letter
Description of Branwell's Artwork in his letters from 1842-1848. Part of the Brontë collection at the University of Leeds Special Collections.
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Letter accompanied by a pen and ink sketch of a grave stone inscribed with the word 'Resurgam'; addressed from 'Haworth nr Bradford'.
University of Leeds Library Special Collections, Letters from Branwell Brontë
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Letter addressed from 'Haworth nr Bradford'; letter bearing broken seal, Bradford and Halifax post marks and penny postage stamp
University of Leeds Library Special Collections, Letters from Branwell Brontë
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University of Leeds Library Special Collections, Letters from Branwell Brontë
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University of Leeds Library Special Collections, Letters from Branwell Brontë
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University of Leeds Library Special Collections, Letters from Branwell Brontë
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University of Leeds Library Special Collections, Letters from Branwell Brontë
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Letter addressed from 'Haworth, Bradford, Yorks'; letter bearing remains of seal, Bradford and Halifax post marks and penny postage stamp
University of Leeds Library Special Collections, Letters from Branwell Brontë
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University of Leeds Library Special Collections, Letters from Branwell Brontë
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University of Leeds Library Special Collections, Letters from Branwell Brontë
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University of Leeds Library Special Collections, Letters from Branwell Brontë
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University of Leeds Library Special Collections, Letters from Branwell Brontë
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University of Leeds Library Special Collections, Letters from Branwell Brontë
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University of Leeds Library Special Collections, Letters from Branwell Brontë
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University of Leeds Library Special Collections, Letters from Branwell Brontë
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University of Leeds Library Special Collections, Letters from Branwell Brontë
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University of Leeds Library Special Collections, Letters from Branwell Brontë
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'Northangerland' pen and ink sketch
University of Leeds Library Special Collections, Letters from Branwell Brontë
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University of Leeds Library Special Collections, Letters from Branwell Brontë
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University of Leeds Library Special Collections, Letters from Branwell Brontë
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Letter signed 'Northangerland'.
University of Leeds Library Special Collections, Letters from Branwell Brontë
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University of Leeds Library Special Collections, Letters from Branwell Brontë
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University of Leeds Library Special Collections, Letters from Branwell Brontë
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University of Leeds Library Special Collections, Letters from Branwell Brontë
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University of Leeds Library Special Collections, Letters from Branwell Brontë
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Bibiography and relevant literature for the Bronte and Leyland Manuscripts. Part of the Brontë collection at the University of Leeds Special Collections.
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Letters 1-21: Joseph Bentley Leyland (1811–1851)


A sculptor from Halifax and an aspiring poet, Leyland was a good friend of Branwell Brontë. His brother was the Halifax antiquarian and publisher Francis A Leyland, who designed the seal for Halifax Corporation and the Coat of Arms of Halifax. He was also an early biographer of the Brontë family.

Leyland and Branwell were part of a group of young Yorkshire artists and writers who met at the George Hotel in Bradford and other local drinking-places to discuss and critique each other's work. The group included John Wilson Anderson the landscape painter, Skerrit the actor, and John Nicholson the Airedale poet. Leyland's medallion portrait of Branwell (1846, plaster) hangs at the parsonage at Haworth.

Leyland's life followed a similar path of destruction to that of Branwell and he died only three years after his friend. Constantly in debt, given to heavy drinking and subject to ill health, he had difficulties in completing commissions. Mary Leyland described him as 'self-opinionated, sarcastic, and unreliable, scornful of religion and of anyone who disagreed with him, only working when the spirit moved him.'

Leyland's works include:
• An effigy of Stephen Beckwith in York Minster.
• African Blood-Hounds: a painting of a large group of the titular dogs which Edwin Landseer described as 'the noblest modern work of its kind,' which was presented to Salford Museum after the sculptor's death and subsequently destroyed.

Copyright The National Portrait Gallery, London

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