New exhibition celebrates life of Branwell Brontë

A new exhibition about Branwell Brontë has opened at the Brontë Parsonage Museum in Haworth to celebrate his bicentenary.

It is curated by the poet Simon Armitage and explores Branwell's history through a series of writings, drawings and possessions.

At the heart of the exhibition is a letter which Branwell wrote to the poet William Wordsworth. The letter was written in January 1837 when he was 19-years-old. He enclosed one of his own poems with the letter, expressing the hopes and dreams of a young romantic, intent on building 'mansions in the sky'. Wordsworth did not reply.

A recreation of Branwell's room Credit: The Brontë Society

Simon Armitage has written a series of poems for the exhibition exploring reactions to Branwell Brontë's complicated life.

Most people know Branwell either as the ne're-do-well brother of the Brontë family or as the shadowy absence in his famous portrait of his three sisters. We'll never really know Branwell properly, all his light and shade, but in putting together events for his bicentenary I feel as if I've been privy to some of his hopes and dreams, especially the ambitions he had for himself as a Romantic poet among the Yorkshire moors.

Simon Armitage