Anne Bronte

Comparing Anne

Opinions differ as to whether Branwell's 'Pillar Portrait' was painted before or after his (mostly destroyed) 'Gun-Group' and so the ages given on this page are only estimates. The tracing shown was either used by Branwell to compose the 'Gun-Group' portrait or traced from the painting at a later date.

Anne in Branwell's Pillar Portrait at the NPG.

Left: Undisputed portrait of Anne Bronte in the 'Pillar Portrait' c1834, aged about 14. The original has been reversed for comparison with the photo.The portrait was painted by her brother Branwell then aged about 17 years-old.

Right: if this is Anne, and the photo was taken in 1848, she would be about 28 years old.

The Profile Portrait at the NPG, the only remaining portion of Branwell's 'Gun-Group.'
Her identity has been debated since 1914.
She is almost certainly Anne (see Profile Portrait - Emily or Anne) and not Emily.

Above: The 'Profile Portrait' c1835 alongside the tracing; Anne would be about 15 years old. 
Below: 'Anne' in the photograph - if this is Anne & the photo was taken in 1848 she would be 28 years old.


Left: A (reversed) portrait of Anne, aged about 14 years, drawn by her sister, Charlotte c1833.

Right: 'Anne' in the photograph.

Comparing 'Anne' and the Rev Patrick Bronte.
The Rev Patrick Bronte (father of the Bronte Sisters) compared with 'Anne' in the photo.

Some descriptions of Anne

"Her hair was a very pretty light brown, and fell on her neck in graceful curls. She had lovely violet-blue eyes, fine pencilled eyebrows and a clear almost transparent complexion."

 "[Emily] and gentle Anne were to be seen twined together as united statues of power and humility. They were to be seen with their arms lacing each other in their younger days whenever their occupations permitted their union."

 Description of Anne by Charlotte's friend, Ellen Nussey.

"A gentle, quiet, rather subdued person, by no means pretty, yet of a pleasing appearance.....Her manner was curiously expressive of a wish for protection and encouragement, a kind of constant appeal which invited sympathy."

Description of Anne by the publisher George Smith.

"Emily and Anne were like twins — inseparable companions, and in the very closest sympathy, which never had any interruption... but Anne was quite different in appearance from the others." 1.

This last remark by Ellen Nussey could be taken to mean that Anne's appearance resembled the paternal Bronte side but her sisters' resembled the maternal Branwell side. There are photographs of the sisters' distant cousins, on the Branwell side of the family, on the Penlee House Museum Website - just  type "branwell" in the search box.


1. Description of Anne by Ellen Nussey. Clement Shorter (ed.), The Brontes: Life and Letters, 2 vols. (London, 1908), Volume 1, P103.