Emily Bronte portrait painting could reach Wuthering Heights at UK auction

In the last month of 2011 a Northamptonshire, UK, auctioneer offered for sale a rare painting which they contended was of Emily Bronte. Experts had tended to agree, and bidders did too as it was sold for £23,800.

Now, to their surprise, the auctioneer has been presented with another portrait purporting to be of Emily Bronte.

Whilst the former 'bonnet' painting showed her as pale, small-eyed and severe, the more recent discovery is a little more flattering. Bronte appears with large almond-shaped eyes, red lips and a healthy complexion topped with neat chin-length hair, albeit with a serious expression.

The somewhat severe 'Bonnet Portrait' of Emily Bronte
The somewhat severe 'Bonnet Portrait' of Emily Bronte

Auctioneer Jonathan Humbert commented, "I am amazed that this second painting has turned up on our doorstep. One unknown portrait of Emily Bronte is luck but tow in two months is quite remarkable!

"This painting is definitely mid-19th century and further, has been attributed to Miss Bronte by the artist at the time of painting."

The work has been given a cautious estimate of £3,000-4,000 in the February 23 sale by the auctioneer due to a lack of certainty that it is what it appears to be. Nevertheless, it is likely to sell well - the Bronte name is a powerful one to conjure with at auction.

Beautiful Emily Bronte portrait painting
The latest Emily Bronte portrait painting, showing her as beautiful

Also last month, Sotheby's sold a miniature manuscript written by Emily's sister Charlotte Bronte for £690,850. It was bought by a Paris museum, indicating the international appeal of the sisters.

Different collectors might be interested in the Brontes as great novelists of the 19th century, or just as great female authors. We currently have items of interest to either group in stock in the form of a Charles Dickens handwritten signed letter and a limited edition copy of Orlando signed by author Virginia Woolf.

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