Monday, 13 July 2020

'Brontë Places and Poems': fascinating view of Brontë world

In these weird corona times when travelling is not advisable, not recommended, not desired or not possible, I came across this book by Geoff and Christine Taylor called Brontë Places & Poems.

The book, which is lavishly illustrated with photographs, was a labour of love. Its authors have lived near Haworth for almost 40 years and the book grew out of their trips to Brontë places in the U.K., Ireland and Belgium, with Chris, a keen amateur photographer and artist, taking the photographs. There are many photos of Brussels.

Thursday, 2 July 2020

Brussels square to be named after the Brontë sisters

Since 1979 Charlotte and Emily Brontë have had a plaque on Bozar, the central Brussels arts centre, commemorating their stay there in 1842-43. The building is on the site of the Pensionnat Heger where the sisters perfected their French. Since the creation of our Group in 2006 we have dreamed of a street, statue or museum in Brussels in honour of the Brontës; some of these schemes have even been discussed with the authorities, but until now none of them has materialised.

That is about to change. The municipal council of Koekelberg in the north-west of the city has decided to name a square after the Brontë sisters.

Tuesday, 23 June 2020

In Memoriam: Maureen Peeck O’Toole

With the death of Maureen Peeck O’Toole (28 August 1935-13 June 2020), the Brussels Brontë Group has lost a leading light of the group, who gave us much support over the years since we started up in 2006.


Maureen speaking to Brussels Brontë Group in 2011.

Maureen was one of a number of members from the Netherlands who were involved in setting up the group (others were Eric Ruijssenaars, author of Charlotte Brontë’s Promised Land: the Pensionnat Heger and other Brontë Places in Brussels; Selina Busch, who designed our first website; and Marcia Zaaijer, another founding member who still attends our meetings, all the way from Rotterdam).

Wednesday, 11 March 2020

Whirlwind Journey Through Time at the Mariemont Museum

Brussels Brontë Group activities are events for which I willingly wake up early on a Saturday. Last Saturday was no exception; I was excited to make the pilgrimage to the Musée Royal de Mariemont with fellow Brontëphiles to see the BBG-famous “L’Ingratitude” essay with my own eyes.

I was expecting a pleasant day out with like-minded people and the opportunity to behold this devoir written by Charlotte Brontë in her own hand. What I was not expecting was the whirlwind journey through time which unfolded through the written words of key figures in history, literature, politics and science. 

Portal to Mariemont Museum.         The TARDIS in 'Doctor Who'.

Although, I suppose I should have guessed after seeing that to enter the museum, we passed through the TARDIS (Time and Relative Dimension in Space), the time machine from Doctor Who.

Tuesday, 10 March 2020

Visit to Mariemont Museum to See Charlotte's 'L’Ingratitude'

Fourteen members of the Brussels Brontë Group visited the Musée Royal de Mariemont on 7 March 2020 to view Charlotte Brontë’s French essay L’Ingratitude and other items in the museum’s ‘Reserve Précieuse’ (collection of rare books and manuscripts). We were given a lively two-hour talk by Chief Librarian Bertrand Federinov.

The session included letters or manuscripts by Charles I, Queen Victoria, Charles Dickens, Benjamin Franklin and two special favorites of the Brontës -- the Duke of Wellington and Lord Nelson.

M. Federinov shows Charlotte's `L'Ingratitude' essay.

M. Federinov started by filling us in on the history of the museum. It stands in the Mariemont domain, first founded as a hunting estate by Mary of Hungary, sister of Charles V. In the early nineteenth century the Warocqué family, who made their fortune from coalmining, bought it and built themselves a neo-classical château on the estate.