Yesterday morning, a friend took me up to the Bronte Parsonage Museum to see an exhibition by Annelies Strba. Strba had produced a series of haunting images in response to the Brontes and their home. The images are digitally manipulated photographs of her daughters and granddaughters (I believe), and they have a fairy tale quality to them. They are displayed on small canvases, carefully placed throughout the rooms of the museum, as if they were objects that could have been owned by the Brontes. I found that these small, luminous images added a feminine spirit to the rooms, as if they were the spirits of the Bronte girls themselves. In fact, I think they represent dreams – actually, Strba’s dreams but they could be the dreams of poor Emily Bronte who died on the sofa in the house. The story of the Brontes is actually quite sad – the last remaining daughter, Charlotte, was only 38 when she died in childbirth – a death tragically prophesied by her Father who didn’t want her to marry her curate husband as he was afraid he would kill her. Some of Strba’s pictures are quite dark, possibly in response. Others explore feminine experience in quite an imaginative way, particularly one positioned over one of Branwell’s paintings of Madonna and Child, which I think explores what Mary’s actual experience might have been.
Overall, an extremely rewarding exhibition, and I would definitely recommend a visit. It’s on until 31 October this year.