Wednesday to Sunday, 10:00 to 17:00
Last entry at 16:30
Open on Bank Holidays
Entry is free
Celebrate 200 years since the birth of one of Britain’s best loved writers, in our fun and imaginative new display which includes some of Charlotte Brontë’s treasured possessions.
Born in 1816 Brontë lived most of her life in obscurity in Yorkshire, but following the meteoric success of Jane Eyre in 1847, she made five trips to London to see her publisher. These trips are the foundation of this small display, curated by artist Charlotte Cory, who brings together an fascinating selection of objects: from the personal effects Brontë brought with her - on loan to us from the Brontë Parsonage Museum in Yorkshire - to Cory’s own artworks inspired by these five visits to the capital.
On display is the guidebook Brontë used to explore the city - featuring Sir John Soane’s Museum - and a dress that she wore to a dinner with her publisher; the first time the dress has returned to London since she wore it. We will also display newly discovered sketches of the Brontë sisters, drawn by their sister Anne, which have never been seen in public before.
Although Charlotte Brontë’s busy itinerary meant that she didn’t make it to the Museum, despite sharing Soane’s love of Napoleonica and fine art, we are one of the few places in her guidebook to remain the same today as on her visits in the 1840s and '50s. This show is therefore a unique opportunity to bring Brontë to the Museum for the first time, and to reflect on the Soane’s position on London’s tourist trail – frozen in time – for the past 180 years.
On 21 April 2016, 200 years to the day since Charlotte Brontë’s birth, the Soane will lead a unique public participation live reading event across the capital, and we want you to get involved. Find out more.