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National Portrait Gallery

Exhibition Detail
Elizabeth Gaskell and Charlotte Brontë
St Martin's Place
London WC2H 0HE
United Kingdom

September 7th, 2010 - March 20th, 2011
Elizabeth Cleghorn Gaskell (née Stevenson), George RichmondGeorge Richmond,
Elizabeth Cleghorn Gaskell (née Stevenson),
© Courtes of National Portrait Gallery
+44 020 7321 6620
Open daily 10am - 6pm; Late night opening Thursday and Friday until 9pm

To mark the bicentenary of Elizabeth Gaskell's birth, this display highlights the famous novelist's friendship with one of her contemporaries, the equally renowned writer, Charlotte Brontë. Comprised of the two chalk portraits done within a year of each other by the society portraitist, George Richmond, the display brings their personalities into focus and shows how their friendship was underpinned by similar creative ambitions and a shared interest in social reform.

After Bronte's untimely death in 1855, Gaskell wrote a controversial biography of her friend that set new standards for the life-writing of female authors. Her Life of Charlotte Bronte (1857) was a great literary success, and allowed Gaskell, as does this display, to draw attention to the role of the professional woman writer in the nineteenth century and the idea of literary genius in a feminine form.

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