Bertha's Attic

Mad Woman's Room Courtesy of Norton Conyers

This image is a room from a historic house in Yorkshire, reportedly the attic room that served as Charlotte Brontë's inspiration for Bertha's attic. The estate itself is called Norton Conyers and was originally owned by Sir James and Lady Graham in 1684. In this account by Francesca Hobson she states, "in 1839 it is said that Brontë visited the medieval manor, marveling at the ‘stately and elegant, gloomy and haunting’ house (the novel’s description). Her visit left her feeling inspired when she was told of the tale of a madwoman who resided in the attic... Brontë grabbed hold of this tale and spun her own story from the legend, crafting the deranged Bertha Mason" It is incredibly interesting to view the inspiration for Charlotte's work beyond her family and childhood and see the actual estate Thornfield was based on, especially the attic which eventually became Bertha's famous attic. This photo of the attic is credited to "Norton Conyers", so while we know the photograph was taken by one of the owners, we do not know exactly who is responsible for this image.

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