Edith Mary Bratt

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    Edith Mary Bratt

    We talk of J.R.R often here but not so much his wife, Edith Bratt.

    I came across this restored photo of her and I thought that I would share it.


    Edith ( Lúthien Tinúviel ) Tolkien





    This photo was taken of her in 1906 when she was 17.

    The daughter of a single mother, she was orphaned at the age of 14. She was sent to the Dresden House boarding school where she learned to be a pianist. After school she was moved into a boarding house at 37 Duchess Road, Birmingham, where later, she meet Ronald in 1908 when he and his younger brother Hilary were moved to 37 Duchess Road by their guardian. Ronald was 16 and Edith was 19. Within the year they had fallen in love.

    When Ronald's guardian found out about their relationship he forbade Ronald to see Edith until he came of age at 21. Ronald obeyed and they stopped seeing each other and Edith eventually moved to Cheltenham. On the evening of Ronald's 21st birthday in January of 1913 he wrote to Edith and told her that he had never stopped loving her and asked her to marry him. Edith replied saying that she was already engaged and had done so because she had believed that he had forgotten about her. A week later Ronald took a train to Cheltenham where Edith met him on the platform. Edith and he walked in the countryside and talked. By the end of the day Edith had accepted Ronald's proposal. She wrote to her then fiancée and returned her engagement ring.

    Edith and Ronald married on 22 March 1916. On June 6th 1916 Ronald boarded a troop ship bound for France. Edith spent the next seven mouths fearing for her husbands life until he was shipped back to Englad with "trench fever".

    In 1918 while stationed in Kingston upon Hull, Edith and Ronald went walking in the woods nearby the village of Roos, where Edith danced for Ronald in a clearing of hemlock. Tolkien called the small white flowers "hemlock" but were most likely Queen's Anne's lace.

    Tolkien's words: "We walked in a wood where hemlock was growing, a sea of white flowers."




    After Edith's death Ronald wrote of the moment:


    "I never called Edith Luthien – but she was the source of the story that in time became the chief part of the Silmarillion. It was first conceived in a small woodland glade filled with hemlocks at Roos in Yorkshire (where I was for a brief time in command of an outpost of the Humber Garrison in 1917, and she was able to live with me for a while). In those days her hair was raven, her skin clear, her eyes brighter than you have seen them, and she could sing – and dance. But the story has gone crooked, & I am left, and I cannot plead before the inexorable Mandos."


    He Husband's career as a professor took her to cities like Leeds and Oxford. During that time she never feel at ease around her husband's intellectual colleagues. So after Ronald's retirement they moved to Bournemouth where Edith and he enjoyed the rest of their life.

    She was a devoted wife and mother. Their shared love of their family bound them together. Edith and Ronald had four children, John Francis , Michael Hilary, Christopher John and Priscilla Anne.

    She and Ronald were married for 55 years until her death on the 29th of November, 1971. Ronald followed her 21 months later.

    And so ends the tale of Beren and Lúthien.



    #2
    Great to read, thank you. I have visited their grave and find it beautiful that Beren and Luthien is on it.

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      #3



      Click image for larger version

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        #4
        what a wonderful love story
        "all the good people are nuts" Carrie Fisher

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          #5
          Thank you for that beautiful story Ithildin I knew part from the movie 'Tolkien', but reading it is always more special... Amazing photographs too
          IG

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            #6
            A very touching love story, thanks for sharing.

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              #7
              Excellent! And such a beauty, Luthien indeed!

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                #8
                What a real love story. Some couples really do get it right. Lovely article Ithildin thanks for sharing.

                Wonderful picture Valar , although I personally think the real 'Lúthien Tinúviel' is more beautiful than the one in the painting.

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                  #9
                  You are so welcome! I'm glad that you all enjoyed it as much as I did.

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                    #10
                    Originally posted by Minuialwen View Post
                    What a real love story. Some couples really do get it right. Lovely article Ithildin thanks for sharing.

                    Wonderful picture Valar , although I personally think the real 'Lúthien Tinúviel' is more beautiful than the one in the painting.
                    Agreed Min, although as you say, in a sense they are the same person

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                      #11
                      That was a beautiful read. Thank you.
                      "I aim to misbehave." Captain Malcolm Reynolds, Serenity

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                        #12
                        Originally posted by Warofoz View Post
                        That was a beautiful read. Thank you.
                        You are so welcome!

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                          #13
                          That’s really an excellent picture! I don’t recall seeing it before.

                          Tolkien wrote so many good stories that it’s easy to forget that his own life (at least the early part) is quite a story in itself. To those who didn’t yet: go read Humphrey Carpenter’s biography!
                          Always on the hunt

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                            #14
                            Originally posted by jrjhoe View Post
                            That’s really an excellent picture! I don’t recall seeing it before.

                            Tolkien wrote so many good stories that it’s easy to forget that his own life (at least the early part) is quite a story in itself. To those who didn’t yet: go read Humphrey Carpenter’s biography!
                            Ya, I hadn't seen it before either. I had seen the unrestored photo of her and was just blown away by the restored version.


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