Lot 78
  • 78

[Brontë, Charlotte]

15,000 - 20,000 GBP
bidding is closed


  • [Brontë, Charlotte]
  • The Holy Bible... Longman, Hurst, Rees, Orme and Brown, 1821
  • Paper
12mo, PRESENTATION COPY FROM CHARLOTTE BRONTE TO HER CLOSE FRIEND ELLEN NUSSEY ("E Nussey | from | C Bronte | 1837") together with a later inscription from Nussey ("Mary Carr | From E Nussey | Jan 16th 94 [74?]") on preliminary blank, contemporary straight-grain red morocco, title in gilt on spine, marbled endpapers, gilt edges, collector's green morocco folding box, occasional light spotting and browning, extremities slightly rubbed

Catalogue Note

Ellen Nussey (1817-1897) first met Charlotte Brontë in 1831 when they both attended Roe Head school; Nussey was to become Brontë's closest friend and confidant. By 1837 Brontë was a teacher at Roe Head and experiencing some religious confusion. This, coupled to an emotional separation from Nussey, may have prompted the gift of this Bible.

In December 1836 Brontë wrote "If I could always live with you, and 'daily' read the bible with you… I hope, I trust, I might one day become better, far better, than my evil wandering thoughts, my corrupt heart… will now permit me to be" (see ed. Smith, The Letters of Charlotte Brontë, Volume One, Oxford, 1995, p. 156). Then in February 1837 Brontë wrote about their separation: "…what shall I do without you? How long are we to be separated? …Why are we to be divided? Surely, Ellen, it must be because we are in danger of loving each other too well; of losing sight of the Creator in idolatry of the creature. …Last Sunday I took up my Bible in a gloomy frame of mind; I began to read; a feeling stole over me… I thought of my own Ellen…" (see ed. Smith, The Letters of Charlotte Brontë, Volume One, Oxford, 1995, p. 164).

The verso of the front free endpaper presents 25 lines of verse ("Holy Bible, book divine") possibly in two different hands in pencil. The verse is based on John Burton's hymn of 1803. The word 'blessed' is underlined in brown ink on seven occasions: on pp.918, 926, 927, 929 (twice) and 931 (twice). There are also two neat marginal notes in brown ink: "Chap I.v.3." (p.926) and "C.XV.13" (p.927).

The Carr family of Gomersal feature in the Nussey family tree on at least two occasions: Ellen Nussey's cousin married William Carr (Surgeon of Gomersal) and Ellen’s brother's sister-in-law married Charles Carr (Solicitor of Gomersal). It is likely, therefore, that Mary Carr was a distant relation of Ellen Nussey who received this volume in either 1874 or 1894 (the inscription is not clear).