Above left: 'The Bronte
Sisters' (NPG 1725) painted in the 1830s.
Above right: 'The Bronte Sisters Photo'
Branwell's 'Pillar' portrait as originally envisaged used a more
balanced triangular composition and he would have stood over his seated sisters. His
ghostly figure can just be made out in the centre (the pillar), where he painted himself out
before his own portrait was completed. He was actually shorter than Emily so this
would have conveniently exaggerated his height, allowing him to form the apex of the
Close examination of Branwell's portrait reveals that the three sisters have
three different nose shapes: Anne = convex, Emily = straight, Charlotte = possibly concave and
this is the same for the respective 'sisters' in the photograph.
The photograph corrects the deficiency in the Pillar
Portrait by placing Emily at the apex but the
fact that there was a figure behind the pillar in the painting and that the composition
should have been triangular was not known about until the 1950s.