Editor’s Note: This is a reprint of a Blog Post published a year ago about the Bronte Sisters and David Hockney written on a sister site, GourMay.net, which documents one of our trips to Great Britain. Slightly irreverent, this blog post is pitched more to our family than readers of Gourmet Living. Nevertheless, it has some useful suggestions for those travelling to the UK, particularly London.
I am a fan of the Brontë sister novels, Jane Eyre and Wuthering Heights. While I am more familiar with both Charlotte and Emily Brontë, it appears that their sister, Anne, was more popular during their tragically short lives.
As depicted in the recent documentary “To Walk Invisible,” these very talented authors wrote under male pseudonyms. Charlotte was “Currer Bell”, Emily was “Ellis Bell” and Anne was “Acton Bell.”
While I enjoyed both novels and the rich characters their lively imaginations created, I do not have a “I am Heathcliff” coffee cup, which seems to be the rage in Brexit England these days. In fact, I far prefer re-reading The Eyre Affair by Jasper Fforde, a hilarious romp featuring literary detective, Thursday Next. Other “Thursday Next” novels by Jasper Fforde are not nearly as entertaining.
We stayed at Haworth, Yorkshire to visit the Brontë Parsonage, which houses the Brontë museum. Frankly, it is one of the most interesting exhibits I have ever attended. The costumes worn by the Brontë characters in the “To Walk Invisible” documentary are interspersed throughout the exhibit.
These brilliant women all died tragically young. In fact, Charlotte died pregnant roughly a year after her marriage to an assistant to her father at the Parsonage. Sadly, her progressive father, Patrick, outlived all of his six children and his wife.
I would encourage all to visit this superb museum and learn more about these remarkable women and their determination to break through in a literary world dominated by men.
Yorkshire is a wonderful county full of delightful panoramas and interesting historical venues. After our visit to the Brontë Museum, we drove about 30 minutes to Saltaire, a World Heritage site featuring the a completely refurbished textile mill that houses the colorful art of David Hockney.
Very briefly, the six story and two acre Salts Mill building was built by Sir Titus Salt in 1853. He later built homes for his workers just across the train tracks in the village of Saltaire (seen above in the foreground of the painting).
The Salt Mill building features long expanses of book shelves, art supplies and a majestic gallery featuring Hockney’s latest work. The Tate Britain is currently hosting a Hockney exhibit in London and we were fearful that much of his work would be on loan. Fortunately, his recent work was not!
Most of Hockney’s work at the Salts Mill features colorful paintings of the surrounding Yorkshire countryside. I will leave it to art critics to opine on the merits of his art, but in this setting his paintings are majestic. I understand that his use of vibrant colors was triggered by a visit to California some years ago.
Now nearing 80, I was amazed to see a retrospective of some of Hockney’s “drawings” for friends crafted on the iPhone and iPad using an app called Brush. The “drawings” are magnificent. I only wish I had the talent to send such beautiful images to friends. The world would be a happier place.
More later from York, where I was reunited with my soul-mate, Richard III.