- Brontë, Charlotte
- Fisherman sheltering against a tree
- pencil on card
With Bewick on my knee, I was then happy: happy at least in my way. I feared nothing but interruption, and that came too soon..." (Jane Eyre, Chapter One)
The unforgettable opening of Charlotte Brontë's masterpiece, in which the young Jane hides behind a curtain and loses herself in Bewick's Birds, is a celebration of a book that nourished the imagination of the children of Haworth Parsonage. Bewick's History of British Birds "provided the first copybook for all four of the Brontë children"; there are surviving drawings by all four siblings based on his vignettes of rural life, and in 1832 Charlotte wrote of Bewick's "enchanted page" which "pictured thoughts that breathe and speak and burn" (Alexander and Sellars, p.22).