The Bronte Parsonage museum in Haworth will be celebrating a unique event ,a 200th weddding anniversary .On Dec 29th 2012 it will be the 200 anniversary of the Marriage in Guisley church of Maria Branwell and the Rev Patrick Bronte.The eventual Parents of the Bronte sisters and their brother Branwell.
Heres the museums information on the day of special events http://www.bronte.org.uk/
To mark the occasion the Brontë Parsonage Museum is offering a day of free activities – and a piece of wedding cake! – to all visitors.
- Meet ‘Mrs Brontë’ as she tours the Museum in her wedding dress
- Listen to a short talk about Maria and Patrick’s courtship and wedding at intervals throughout the day
- Handle real period costume items
- Enjoy children’s activities in the foyer
- And partake of a free slice of commemorative wedding cake!
‘Mrs Brontë’ will be at the Museum between 11am and 4pm, and is available for pictures outside the church, in the Museum and in the Museum garden
I was thrilled to be asked to be “Mrs Bronte” though finding a dress at short notice has been a challenge as I have a fairly limited regency wardrobe of day gowns and ball gowns .The ball gowns were made from expensive silks and far to lavishly trimmed but even for a regency wedding the brown day dresses seemed a bit gloomy .Very rarely did anyone except the rich have specially made wedding dresses they usually wore their sunday best .When they were well enough off to have a new dress made it was always one that could be reworn for everyday use later .Brown was in fact a popular colour because of its usefulness but to modern eyes a bit dreary,.I wore a brown silk for the first day in Bath but despite being one of them most expensive fabrics I have ever bought it felt quite dreary ,it also really looked bleak once it got wet ,so that wasnt a great choice for late December in Haworth !
The only extant middle class wedding dress I have seen in yellow silk and from 1812 but unfortunately I don’t posses enough yellow silk to make a gown and I can’t envisage Maria as a bright yellow silk kind of lady. I also suspect the dress would have had a gauze silk overdress something beyond my skills and budget to create.
I eventually decided on a green walking gown I have worn in Bath as it’s quite smart ,,good enough for a school teachers Sunday best but also exactly the right style for 1812 being my only trained day gown. I planned to use it for my Jane Austen talks as its the correct social class but decided to posh it up with a black velvet spencer and retrimed bonnet (to include a veil) .I also found a pretty reticule and fur tippet and I hope to buy a pretty shawl (This is the outfit minus the new bits and with a rather more flamboyant bonnet in Bath.)
.It occurred to me while scanning my Regency outfits trying to find something suitable that it was probably the case for Maria those 200 years ago .She met ,fell in love with and married Patrick within a few months and hurriedly sent to Cornwall for her possessions and more of her clothing to be “sent around by sea” as that was the quickest way to transport things from Cornwall to Yorkshire at that time.Her possesions were almost all lost at sea in a storm which would suspect leave a big gap in her trousseau and replacing the lost essentials would make a huge gap in the cash available for buying new silks etc.The news of the shipwreck reached Maria sometime just before or around the 18th of November so she would have some time to make new items but having read her letters I imagine she would be more concerned with preparing for her married life and her new home than in making a trousseau.Though I should like to have created something new for the oocasion.
Please come and say hi to me at the Parsonage if you are in Haworth on Dec 29th and have a look at the Parsonage while its at its festive best.