Charlotte Brontë poem manuscript sells for £92,000

April 11, 2013 § 1 Comment

How much is a tiny handwritten manuscript from 1829 worth today? Quite  a bit it would appear. This interesting article on Charlotte Bronte’s poem was found on the Guardian website:

Minuscule handwritten work from 1829 measures just three inches square

The Guardian, Wednesday 10 April 2013 15.46 BST

Charlotte Brontë poem

Small wonder … manuscript of Charlotte Brontë’s poem ‘I’ve been wandering in the greenwoods’ Photograph: By kind permission of Bonhams

A minuscule handwritten poem by Charlotte Brontë, composed when the author was just 13, has been sold for almost £100,000. Signed C Brontë, and dated by her on 14 December 1829, “I’ve been wandering in the greenwoods” is written on a piece of paper measuring just three inches square, and is difficult to read without a magnifying glass. Charlotte and her siblings all wrote in a tiny hand, to make the most of a scarce and expensive paper supply, but they were also short-sighted, so would have been able to see what they were writing themselves, even it was illegible to others.

The manuscript was sold by Bonhams as part of the collection of the poet and scholar Roy Davids: it had been given an estimated sale price of £40,000-£45,000, but went for more than double that, selling for £92,450. The Brontë poem, said the auction house, is “extremely rare”, because although the author would go on to write around 200 poems, the “vast majority” are in institutions, with “perhaps no more than four” in private hands.

“I’ve been wandering in the greenwoods” is a celebration of nature, with the precocious young poet elaborating on how she has “been to the distant mountain,/ To the silver singing rill/ By the crystal murmering mountain,/ And the shady verdant hill.” It appeared in a printed version in the literary magazine The Young Man’s Intelligencer, which was produced by the Brontë children for their own enjoyment. Charlotte took over as editor from her brother Branwell in 1829.

I’ve been wandering in the greenwoods by Charlotte Brontë
I’ve been wandering in the greenwoods
And mid flowery smiling plains
I’ve been listening to the dark floods
To the thrushes thrilling strains
I have gathered the pale primrose
And the purple violet sweet
I’ve been where the Asphodel grows
And where lives the red deer fleet.
I’ve been to the distant mountain,
To the silver singing rill
By the crystal murmering mountain,
And the shady verdant hill.
I’ve been where the poplar is springing
From the fair Inamelled ground
Where the nightingale is singing
With a solemn plaintive sound.

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§ One Response to Charlotte Brontë poem manuscript sells for £92,000

  • brumby says:

    hi annie, nice little story.currently in a mus storm with little bombs of mud not rain drops..hope all is well in the home town. Deirdre and Ihavae evaded the pirates and are heading for the local at down town petra. CU KimB View our travels at http://www.itraveldoyou.com/ Ps probably back around the 12 May. Get little info on the rugby but seems both the Reds and Hurricanes doing well. LOL

    >________________________________ >From: Novel Lines >To: kimbrumpton@yahoo.com.au >Sent: Thursday, 11 April 2013 2:12 AM >Subject: [New post] Charlotte Bront poem manuscript sells for 92,000 > >Novel Lines Bookshop posted: “How much is a tiny handwritten manuscript from 1829 worth today? Quite a bit it would appear. This interesting article on Charlotte Bronte’s poem was found on the Guardian website: Minuscule handwritten work from 1829 measures just three inches square” >

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