Chawton House has begun its 2023 visitor season and 20th anniversary year with two exhibitions.

Quills and Characters, which is on until December, explores the art of letter-writing in the 18th and 19th centuries.

It provides fascinating insights into stories of science and scholarship, love and literature through the manuscript letters on display.

These include letters written by mathematician Mary Somerville and her protégée Ada Lovelace on loan from the Bodleian Library, letters written by the novelist and abolitionist Amelia Opie, and letters from the Chawton House collection never before displayed.

Inside Charlotte Brontë’s Wardrobe, which runs until June 4, was previously on display at the Brontë Parsonage in Haworth and is an artistic imagining of what the Jane Eyre author wore. 

Historian, writer and illustrator Dr Eleanor Houghton captures Charlotte Brontë’s wardrobe in eight illustrations displayed alongside Chawton House’s treasured piece of Brontëana and contemporary fashion plates.

The exhibition places focus on some remarkable garments and accessories worn by Charlotte Brontë. There are also four illustrations of clothing worn by Jane and Cassandra Austen.