Wuthering Heights

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Wuthering Heights

Post  eddie on Wed Dec 21, 2011 5:19 am

Rescue work saves the future of 'Wuthering Heights'

The lonely farm which is thought to have inspired Emily Bronte is preserved from the weather and vandals. And it is getting an artist in (sort-of) residence too


Top Withens. We had a tablemat of it when I was a boy, and in those 1950s days it still had its roof. Photograph: Alamy

We may have lost the latest piece of Bronte family history to the increasingly stroppy French, but there is better news from Top Withens.

The windy farmhouse thought to be Emily Bronte's most likely inspiration for Wuthering Heights has been carefully preserved against its notorious weather for at least another decade.


Zut alors! The French nabbed it for £690,850. Photograph: -/AFP/Getty Images

Even Heathcliff at his most bad-tempered would be unlikely to want to live in the shell of a former chicken farm, but the old stones attract thousands of literary pilgrims and other tourists every year. They are a fair step from Haworth, albeit a very lovely one, past the Bronte Waterfall (everything is Bronte round here), with helpful direction signs in both English and Japanese.

Mass visiting isn't always good for ruins, and there are vandals even out here, so work on sealing the remaining stones has involved a bit of mortaring. But you wouldn't notice from a distance and it's not easy to detect too much from near at hand. The landowners Yorkshire Water and Pennine Prospect's Watershed Project which won £1.9 million of Lottery money last year for this sort of thing, have been careful.

Top Withens was the highest of three farms which, interestingly, all depended on dairy cattle initially, rather than the sheep which roam much of the Pennine spine. Quite a few people would have lived on the heathery hillside, effectively forming a hamlet and supplementing their income by weaving worsted cloth on handlooms.


Cliff Richard or Heathcliff? It's both. Photograph: Richard Young/Rex Features

The industrial revolution did for that and by the end of the 1870s all were abandoned. Top Withens came back to life in the 1920s with its chickens farmed by a Mr Ernest Roddie but he gave up in 1926 and the then Keighley corporation fenced off the building to protect it against vandals (yep, they are not new) and demolished the other two farms.

Carol Prenton, of Yorkshire Water's land and planning department, says:

We are managing the building as a ruin with a view to protecting it from vandals but at the same time making sure it's accessible to visitors. People will be able to walk around the ruins but we've blocked off the cellar now.

Robin Gray, project officer for the Watershed Landscape Project, goes into a bit more detail:

The work includes re-pointing the building with materials sympathetic to its original construction, making the ruin better able to withstand the erosive nature of the sometimes vicious upland weather. This will ensure that the ruin remains intact for many more years to come and that those intrepid explorers that venture out into the wilds of the moors above Haworth can continue to enjoy and be inspired by the stories surrounding this atmospheric place.

They will include an artist and photographer, Simon Warner, who starts the fifth Watershed Landscape artist residency in the New Year. He says:

I'm fascinated by the literary landscape and the sense of wildness at Top Withens, which has undergone a process of ruination since it was abandoned in the 1930s. I aim to spend a lot of time up there to get to grips with the place; the elemental aspects of its remoteness.

You could be part of his work too.

As part of a filming project I'll be speaking to people to find out why they make the trip to Top Withens; are they making a literary pilgrimage to the site, or are they just out walking? There's no doubt it's an evocative site and on a good day the views are stunning. Over the years it's been photographed countless times, offering us an archive of its advancing ruination. I hope to bring together these photographs as part of my exhibition.

Last word to Emily Bronte:


Wuthering Heights is the name of Mr. Heathcliff's dwelling. 'Wuthering' being a significant provincial adjective, descriptive of the atmospheric tumult to which its station is exposed in stormy weather. Pure, bracing ventilation they must have up there at all times, indeed: one may guess the power of the north wind blowing over the edge, by the excessive slant of a few stunted firs at the end of the house; and by a range of gaunt thorns all stretching their limbs one way, as if craving alms of the sun. Happily, the architect had foresight to build it strong: the narrow windows are deeply set in the wall, and the corners defended with large jutting stones.

Before passing the threshold, I paused to admire a quantity of grotesque carving lavished over the front, and especially about the principal door; above which, among a wilderness of crumbling griffins and shameless little boys, I detected the date '1500,' and the name 'Hareton Earnshaw.' I would have made a few comments, and requested a short history of the place from the surly owner; but his attitude at the door appeared to demand my speedy entrance, or complete departure, and I had no desire to aggravate his impatience previous to inspecting the penetralium.

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Re: Wuthering Heights

Post  eddie on Wed Dec 21, 2011 5:30 am

http://www.myspace.com/video/melody/kate-bush-wuthering-heights-live/4167532
Wuthering Heights- Kate Bush

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Re: Wuthering Heights

Post  eddie on Wed Dec 21, 2011 5:36 am

http://movies.yahoo.com/movie/1800137370/trailer
Wuthering Heights 1939 trailer- Laurence Olivier and Merle Oberon.

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Re: Wuthering Heights

Post  eddie on Thu Dec 29, 2011 9:51 pm

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kqiUGjghlzU
Wuthering Heights (Semaphore version)- Monty Python's Flying Circus.

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Re: Wuthering Heights

Post  eddie on Thu Jan 12, 2012 10:29 pm

Emily Brontë portrait goes under the hammer

Painting set to fetch £4,000 at auction, a month after smaller portrait of Wuthering Heights author was sold for £24,000

Martin Wainwright

guardian.co.uk, Wednesday 11 January 2012 16.20 GMT


A detail of the Emily Brontë portrait expected to fetch between £3,000 and £4,000 at auction. Photograph: J.P.Humbert Auctioneers/Press Association

For the second time in two months, a previously unknown portrait captioned "Emily Brontë" is to be auctioned, showing the Wuthering Heights author as a winsome but pensive young woman.

Painted in oils and with the subject gazing directly at the artist with clear brown eyes, the picture is less formal and possibly more flattering than the smaller, bonneted study that sold in December for £23,836, exceeding the reserve price of £10,000-£15,000.

Measuring 33 by 24cms (13 by 9.5ins), the painting has been reliably sourced to the mid-19th century and has a note of the subject probably made by the artist around the time of painting. But absolute attribution is unlikely, as has been the case with most supposed Brontë portraits apart from the famous study of the sisters painted in 1835 by their brother, Branwell.

The painting has been sent for auction by the Northamptonshire firm JP Humbert, which handled the "bonnet picture" sale. Jonathan Humbert said a private owner brought the portrait into the firm's office after reading about the previous sale. "One unknown portrait of Emily Brontë is lucky enough, but two in two months is quite remarkable," he said. "I am amazed that both have turned up on our doorstep."

Anything with a Brontë tag appears to sell well, although uncertainty about the authenticity of the latest picture has seen the reserve set at between £3,000 and £4,000. Last month the Haworth Parsonage museum, which has the world's greatest trove of Brontë relics, was outbid by a Paris museum for a miniature magazine made by Charlotte Brontë when she was 14.

The dainty handwritten manuscript was bought at Sotheby's by the Musée des Lettres et Manuscrits for £690,850, more than twice the reserve and a record for a literary work by any of the three sisters. The price of the bonnet painting was driven up on the same day by determined phone bidding to Northampton from the US.

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