The name of the Romantic painter and printmaker John Martin has long been associated with the Brontës. His pictures hung on the Brontë Parsonage walls; the Brontë children both copied his images in paint and transposed them into "print" in their tiny handsewn magazines. His sublime landscapes and gigantic imaginary scenes of ancient architecture-an amalgamation of Classical, Egyptian, and Indian styles-provided unlimited scope for the young architects of Glass Town and Angria. Yet the dynamic relationship between Martin's lurid canvases and Charlotte Brontë's writings extends beyond the simple use of pictorialism. In his work she found an analogue for her own frustrating experience, and her response to his work significantly contributed to her personal development as an artist. This essay attempts to trace the way in which Brontë's writings register her early-nineteenth-century response to Martin's work in a gradual shift from her initial enthusiasm for his landscapes toward a distrust of his illusive promises of grandeur.
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