Anne Bronte visited York in 1841 and also during her five years as
a governess for the Robinsons at Thorp Green. She visited again with Emily in 1845. In
May 1849, six months after Emily's death, Anne fell ill; when travelling with Charlotte to
recuperate in Scarborough, Anne insisted on staying at York to visit the Minster. There may
have been other occasions but there is no record.
The photographer, Samuel Walker, was also a portrait painter, friend and admirer
of the York-born artist William Etty (1787-1849). Etty was a character in the Bronte juvenilia
(stories written by the Brontes as children).
The artist was York-born but spent most of his career in London. He was
asthmatic and returned to York for heath reasons early in June 1848. The last 18 months of his life
he lived at a house off Coney Street (the cinema site), a stone's throw from the George Hotel where
Charlotte & Anne lodged 24-25 May, 1849.
Both Etty & Anne Bronte suffered from asthma and died six months apart; Anne
Bronte in Scarborough, 28 May 1849 and Etty on 13 November 1849 in York.
If, in 1845, Anne & Emily had visited the entrance hall of the Yorkshire
Museum they would have seen the bust of Dr Beckwith, completed the previous September by their
brother Branwell's best friend, Joseph Bentley Leyland. He also created the monument to Dr Beckwith in York Minster but this wasn't completed until June
1849, after the death of Branwell, Emily and Anne.
The Bronte's favourite artist was John Martin whose brother Jonathan had a nervous breakdown and in February, 1829 attempted to destroy York Minster by setting fire to it. Henry Bellerby of
Stonegate published: "A full and authentic report of the trial of Jonathan
Martin..." which can be viewed or downloaded HERE.
RIGHT: Site of the George Hotel, Coney
Street, York. This is where the Bronte Sisters lodged in 1849 and are thought to have lodged
on other occasions. LOWER RIGHT: The George Hotel, Coney Street, York as the
Bronte sisters would have known it.