Anne Brontë by Charlotte, pencil on paper, April 1833 (from Pinterest)

Always glad to be with her sisters, Anne Brontë had a quiet life based on love for the others; she had an enormous strength and she was willing to succeed in the difficult job of a governess that her sisters Charlotte and Emily had failed to do. God was the most important thing in the world for Anne. She considered herself as sent by Him to do good on Earth. She loved nature and animals, and that is visible in her portraits and watercolours because just like the other members of the family, she had a great artistic talent. Subjects of her drawings were trees, flowers, sunsets, women, and two of Anne’s watercolours almost certainly portrayed Flossy, her small, black and white cocker spaniel.

According to Ellen Nussey’s description, Anne had got gracefully curled, light brown hair, violet-blue eyes and a very fair complexion. From what we can see in family portraits, she was the prettiest of the Brontës. That is probably the reason why there are so many portraits of her, most of them done by Charlotte: the earliest one is a pencil drawing of her profile dated April 1883, which had been at the time considered as very similar to Anne. After that drawing, Charlotte painted two watercolours of her sister, one on the same year and the other in June 1834.  The latter is the one that commonly identifies the youngest Brontë.

Anne Brontë by Charlotte, watercolour, June 1834 (from Wikipedia)

Anne had always been aunt Elizabeth Branwell’s favourite niece. She raised little Anne from a very young age, when the six Brontë children were left orphaned and she arrived at the Parsonage to look after them. Elizabeth Branwell taught Anne how to sew and she was also very strict in giving her those Methodist principles that influenced her Anne’s life so much. She was almost certainly in love with William Weightman, reverend Brontë’s young curate who died prematurely in 1842 because of cholera. Some of Anne’s most delicate and heartfelt poems are dedicated to him.

Maddalena De Leo

Here are more articles about Anne: Anne Brontë: First Biography Translated Into Italian 2020: Anne Brontë’s bicentenary

Cover image from Pinterest.