If you have a spare $15,000 burning a hole in your pocket this Christmas, next week Sotheby’s is auctioning off the ultimate gift for bibiliophiles: the mahogany desk that may have been used by Charlotte Bronte to write her novels, including Jane Eyre.
The desk belonged to William Law, an avid Bronte collector who bought it from Charlotte’s widower, Reverend Arthur Bell Nicholls. Charlotte died tragically while pregnant at the age of 37, just a few years after achieving literary fame.
Also up for sale at Sotheby’s is Emily Bronte’s art box and geometry set inscribed with her initials. Emily, the author of Wuthering Heights, also died tragically young of consumption, seven years before her sister Charlotte. “You have to go back a long way back to find items like these for sale,” Dr Phillip Errington, Sotheby’s deputy director, told London’s Telegraph. “The opportunity to buy something the Brontes owned is not common at all.”
If you, like us, can’t afford to bid in the auction, the next best thing for fans of the literary sisters is to plan a visit to the Bronte Parsonage in the Yorkshire Moors. (Or, if you know of someone lucky enough to be able to bid on these items, the Parsonage is making a desperate plea for assistance so that the items can go on display for everyone to enjoy, rather then ending up in a private collection.)