An exhibition to improve the image of the father of the world-famous Bronte sisters is being launched in their former home.

It aims to reveal that the Reverend Patrick Bronte was not a stern and unsophisticated man but a loving and devoted father.

The exhibition is to open at the Bronte Parsonage Museum in Haworth on Thursday, March 17, the day of his birth in 1777, St Patrick’s Day.

This year is the 150th anniversary of his death in Haworth in June 1861, having been Perpetual Curate for 41 years and outliving all his children.

Museum collection manager Ann Dinsdale, who has helped put the exhibition together, says the well-known photograph of Mr Bronte, taken towards the end of his life and showing a rather stern unsmiling face, was not a true reflection of his character.

“Remember, by then he had out-lived all his family having lost his wife and six children and most of his friends and contemporaries.

“The picture shows a remarkable determined expression, but it hides the other side of his character which was loving and very supportive.

“He had a huge influence on his children as they grew up and encouraged them to study art, literature and politics.”

The exhibition runs until March 31, 2012.