Leeds & West Yorkshire

Charlotte Bronte rare letter envelopes to friend up for auction

Envelope addressed to Ellen Nussey in Leeds by Charlotte Bronte Image copyright Henry Aldridge & Son
Image caption This envelope is one of two Charlotte Bronte sent addressed to Ellen Nussey in Leeds and is to go under the hammer on 19 November

Two rare envelopes sent by author Charlotte Bronte to her life-long friend are expected to fetch up to £1,200 when they go under the hammer.

The handwritten envelopes were addressed to Ellen Nussey in Leeds and would have contained letters.

Bronte and Ms Nussey met at Roe Head School, near Mirfield, in 1831 aged 14 and 13 and they wrote to each other until the author's death in 1855.

Both envelopes are to be sold at an auction in Wiltshire on Saturday.

Written in brown ink, the first envelope has a Penny Red stamp and postmarked "Leeds Jan 30 1849" and "Barnsley Keighley and Haworth" with the remains of a black seal. Measuring 10cm by 6cm (4in by 2.4in) it bears a black mourning band to the border.

Similarly, the second 11cm by 6cm (4.3in by 2.4in) envelope is also written in brown ink with a Penny Red stamp. It is postmarked "Leeds MR 31 1846" on the front and "Bradford and Haworth" on the reverse. A small printed scrap "Attend to Time" on the reverse has been affixed by Bronte.

Image copyright Henry Aldridge & Son
Image caption Ellen Nussey was Bronte's closest confidante and they wrote to each other until Bronte's death at age 38 while pregnant with her first child

Auctioneer Andrew Aldridge, of Henry Aldridge and Son, said: "These covers are written to her childhood friend and closest confidante Ellen Nussey, who first met Charlotte Bronte in 1831.

"Anything related to Charlotte is desirable but to have a pair of covers written by her to her closet friend offers an incredible opportunity to a collector or museum."

The pair exchanged hundreds of letters during their friendship, 350 of those Bronte penned to Ms Nussey were used by Elizabeth Gaskell as the basis to write her 1857 biography The Life Of Charlotte Bronte.

Bronte rejected a marriage proposal by Ms Nussey's brother, Henry. Her friend later went on to witness the author's wedding to her father's curate, Arthur Bell Nicholls.

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