2016 will see the 200th birthday of Charlotte Brontë and to celebrate this Vintage Classics have created a trio of new covers. One cover for a novel by each of the Brontë Sisters; The Tenant of Wildfall Hall by Anne Brontë, Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë and Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë.
I feel very privileged to have partnered with Vintage Classics on giving you a detailed insight into these covers with an exclusive quote from a member of their team. Jane Eyre is and will continue to be my favourite classical novel and these new covers only add to my love.
Each of the books is beautifully designed in charcoal by Sarah Gillespie (Sarah also wrote a blog about the experience). Their greyscale imagery casts a striking and unusual take on the novel’s narrative. Each of the books are paperback and, as an added extra, he binding extends beyond the width of the book and folds over into the endpapers (like a dust jacket would) and Vintage have made full use of this extra space to create similar quality imagery on the inner covers of the books.
Let’s look firstly at the youngest of the sister’s books, Anne Brontë, who was not as well known as Charlotte and Emily. The Tenant of Wildfell Hall was Anne’s second novel after Agnes Gray. It sold out within six weeks of first being published. Vintage have taken a very naturistic approach with each of the covers and Anne’s features a tree in bloom with delicate flowers on the outer cover. While on the inside, a pot of floral stems wilting on the inside. A possible interpretation of how the narrative progresses.
Next comes Emily Brontë’s Wuthering Heights. This book has a noticeably darker cover than the other two. The autumnal setting with a tree losing its leaves is very emotive of Cathy and Heathcliff’s tragedy. I particularly liked the small bird drawing on the inside back endpaper. One aspect of the covers that I particularly like is the typography and the use of a single quote on the back cover of each book. It lets the book speak for themselves, which I am a big believer of.
Finally, the reason behind the collection, Charlotte “Birthday Girl” Brontë. The covers of Jane Eyre and The Tenant of Wildfell Hall have similar front covers. However, Jane Eyre‘s endpaper design is a dark forest leading out into an open field. I imagine the small figure of Jane as she runs away from Mr Rochester, when she discovers his secret. Jane is such a strong female character and I have always admired her, so I will treasure this amazing copy. Also the back quote is my favourite scene from the book, where Jane completely exerts all of her autonomy and demands that Mr Rochester appreciate her worth the way she does.
Senior Vintage Editor, Frances MacMillan, spoke about the making of the series:
“The bicentenary of the birth of Charlotte Brontë is approaching next year, so it seemed like the perfect opportunity to celebrate Charlotte’s most famous work with a beautiful new edition, and create a gorgeous set with novels from Charlotte’s sisters, Emily and Anne. We’d had great success with our 2014 Jane Austen series, designed by Leanne Shapton, so we decided to use the same format and find another talented artist who could represent these well-known works in a new way. Creative director Suzanne Dean and picture researcher Lily Richards came across the work of British landscape artist Sarah Gillespie (you can read more about the design process here) and we’re so proud to feature her stunning paintings on these covers, both inside and out. I hope these editions will prove irresistible to both die-hard Brontë fans and new readers.”
I am completely and amourously in love with this collection and would definitely recommend this as a christmas present for any book lover.
You can purchase the collection directly from Vintage: