Brontë siblings giant textile signatures mark 250th anniversary of birth

  • Artist creates large-scale textile of pen names and real signatures for the Brontës' 250th birthday
  • Brontë Parsonage Museum's first outdoor exhibit displayed on the moors

A giant textile of the Brontës’ signatures has been created to celebrate the 250th anniversary of the literary siblings’ birth.

The large-scale textile artwork comprises of a series of replicas of the pen names and real signatures used by author sisters Charlotte, Emily and Anne, and their brother Branwell.

Signatures sewn and stitched during a series of workshops with the artist, where local people were given the chance to add their own personal signatures to be included in the installation.

Artist Lynn Setterington, a textiles lecturer, is behind the artwork named Sew Near-Sew Far in collaboration with the Brontë Parsonage Museum.

Lynn, pictured below, said: “Signatures are an important marker of identity and the Brontë sisters famously used pseudonyms at their time of writing to disguise the fact they were women.

“I’m creating an artwork for Brontë Parsonage Museum exploring the adopted and real signatures of Charlotte, Emily and Anne Brontë.”

The artwork is part of the Keighley, West Yorkshire-based museum’s five-year programme, called Brontë200, which celebrates the bicentenaries of the births of the sisters and that of brother Branwell.

Charlotte, author of Jane Eyre and Shirley, was born in 1816 and Branwell, a painter and writer, the year after.

Younger siblings Emily – whose only novel was Wuthering Heights – was born in 1818 and Anne, who produced Agnes Grey and The Tenant of Wildfell Hall, was born two years later.

Sew Near-Sew Far is the Brontë Parsonage Museum’s first outdoor exhibit and has been on display on the Brontë Way, a cross-Pennine footpath connecting some of the family’s most important locations.

Lauren Livesey, arts officer at Brontë Parsonage Museum, said: “We’ve been able to work with local communities as part of the project and really involve people in our Brontë200 celebrations.”

The last day of Sew Near-Sew Far is tomorrow at sites near the Brontë Bridge and Waterfall on the Brontë Way – so go take a look while you still can.

A film documenting the collaboration with Brontë Parsonage Museum will be screened later in the year.