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Artwork of Branwell Brontë’s letters: 'Resurgam'

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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Many of Branwell Brontë's letters include striking examples of his artwork.

The first drawing in the series titled 'Resurgam' is attached to Letter 1, addressed to Joseph Bentley Leyland and dated 15th May 1842 (BC MS 19c Brontë/02/01/01). The drawing is of a tombstone, headed by a skull and crossbones, with the single word 'Resurgam' (Latin: 'I shall rise again') written on it.

Earlier in May, Branwell's father Patrick had conducted a funeral for Thomas Andrew. Andrew, a family friend and the Haworth surgeon for over twenty years, had distinguished himself in the treatment of typhus. Branwell proposed Leyland should make Andrew's memorial and in this letter invites him to meet the headstone committee, whose 'gothic ignorance and ill-breeding' he apologises for in Letter 2 (BC MS 19c Brontë/02/01/02).

A stone tablet with the single word 'Resurgam', marks the grave of Rosamond Wellesley in Charlotte Brontë's Captain Henry Hastings (1839), written three years prior to the letter. Henry Hastings – based on Branwell – was a character from Charlotte and Branwell's imaginary world called 'Angria'. A similar headstone marks the grave of Helen Burns in Jane Eyre (1847) – 'but now a grey marble tablet marks the spot, inscribed with her name and the word "Resurgam".'

In The Art of the Brontës Christine Alexander suggests that one source for Branwell's drawing may have been the 'tail-pieces' engraved by Thomas Bewick in his History of British Birds – a book which also appears in Jane Eyre, and with which the Brontës were familiar.

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