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Posts Tagged ‘Monk’s House’

The 2014 Independent Bath Literature Festival runs Feb. 28 to March 9 and includes 200 authors and vw gardenperformers talking to an audience of over 20,000, along with interactive events. Among them is an unusual take on Virginia Woolf that marks the 85th anniversary of A Room of One’s Own.

It’s a spoken-word tour of the garden at Monk’s House in Sussex. It will be guided by Caroline Zoob, one-time custodian of Woolf’s garden at Monk’s House in Sussex, and author of Virginia Woolf’s Garden (2013).

Viv Groskop, organizer of the event, calls the Woolf tour her “hidden gem.” The Woolf event will take place Monday, March 3, 1-2 p.m. in the Guildhall. Cost for the event is £7.50.

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With the exception of Virginia and Leonard Woolf themselves, Caroline Zoob and her husband Jonathan are thevw garden only two people who have had access to the garden at Monk’s House year in and year out. But we can all get a glimpse of the year-round beauty of that special place through Virginia Woolf’s Garden: The Story of the Garden at Monk’s House

As Zoob puts it in her Introduction, the couple “opened the curtains each day to see the garden spread out below, still shaped according to Leonard’s inspiration” during their decade-long tenancy of Monk’s House, from 2000-2011.

And in his Foreward to the volume, Cecil Woolf, Leonard’s nephew, offers recollections that go back even farther. He writes about his visits, beginning in 1936, to “that charming house and garden” where he pushed open “the creaking wooden gate” to what he remembers as a “little Eden.” The book, he writes, “brings back memories of long-ago visits before and after the war.”

Story of a home and garden’s evolution

Zoob’s 192-page book is divided into seven chapters that tell the story of the home and the garden’s evolution since 1919, when the Woolfs discovered the home in Rodmell, Sussex and were immediately enamored of the garden. The hefty book gives us a tour of that garden and fills in the background as well. And at the end of each chapter, a different garden “room” is described in detail.

Featured throughout are full-color photographs by Caroline Arber, who was a frequent visitor to Monk’s House during the Zoob’s tenure at the home. The photos include wide views of garden elements such as The Flower Walk — the borders running from the lawn steps to the Orchard — and crisp close-ups of individual flowers, such as Leonard’s beloved roses. They show Monk’s House and its garden transformed by the seasons — with the bursting bulbs of spring, the vibrantly colorful blooms of summer and the snow-capped garden sculptures of winter.

Old alongside the new

Archival photos of the Woolfs and their friends at Monk’s House are juxtaposed alongside photos of Monk’s House in the present day. An old photo that I had never before seen pictures Virginia standing outside her first writing lodge, which was converted from a toolshed. Zoob found the photo at Sissinghurst, and although a cropped version was printed in Volume 3 of Woolf’s Letters, the untrimmed new version includes the loft ladder.

Leonard's desk, as pictured on Pages 122-123.

Leonard’s desk, as pictured on Pages 122-123.

Interior close-ups of such things as both Virginia’s and Leonard’s writing desks are a special treat. Others show intimate views of details not available to visitors to the house. One includes an oak step leading toward the kitchen that is visibly work with use. Another is a 1970 photo showing the kitchen before the National Trust remodeled it for tenants.

Charming garden layouts in textiles

Another charming element of the book are the garden layouts. At first glance, they all look like watercolor sketches — and some of them are — but upon closer inspection it is clear others are textile art — a combination of embroidery and appliqué with inserted text.

Treasure available Oct. 14

The Italian Garden, picture in fabric art at left and in a photograph at right.

The Italian Garden, pictured in fabric art at left and in a photograph at right.

The book, an indispensable treasure for any Woolf fan, Anglophile, or gardener, will be available in hardback from from Jacqui Small Publishing Oct. 14.

Zoob, an embroiderer and textile artist, is the author of The Hand-Stitched Home and Childhood Treasures.

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Originally posted on Writer In The Garden:

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“You must come and sit there on the lawn with me, or stroll in the apple orchard, or pick – there are cherries, plums, pears, figs …” (A letter from Virginia to Janet Case in July 1919.) It was a beautiful sunny day when I went to visit Monk’s House, the weekend home in Sussex of Leonard and Virginia Woolf. The bowls set is left out for people to play, just as it would have been when the Woolf’s lived there. I know this because I’ve read it in her diary.

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The copy of A Writer’s Diary that sits on my desk is a first edition, 1953. It was my father’s copy, his name on the flyplate, and he must have brought it when it first came out. I wish I’d known my father then, with his dreams of writing fiction too before we all came along, his four children…

View original 1,022 more words

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Garden Embroidery with Vintage Textiles

with Caroline Zoob
Wednesday 4th September 2013, 11am-5pm
£50 including lunch and exclusive access to Monk’s House & garden.

Fancy spending a day embroidering with Caroline Zoob? There are still a couple of places remaining on the course organised by the National Trust at Monk’s House on Wednesday 4th September 2013. You need never have picked up a needle!
Spend a day with textile designer and embroiderer Caroline Zoob,
making a framed picture using vintage textiles and embroidery, inspired by the
beautiful garden at Monk’s House.
The course includes private access to Monk’s House garden with Caroline Zoob.
Caroline and her husband Jonathan were the last tenants at Monk’s House, where
they spent 10 years caring for the beautiful garden. After a walk around the
garden to gain inspiration, Caroline will show you how to translate your
photographs and sketches into textiles and hand-embroidery, using scraps from
her workroom. The course will be held in the Village Hall in Rodmell, which was
opened by Leonard Woolf in 1960 and is a focal point for many activities in the
village.

A full itinerary and menu will be emailed on booking.

Level:  Any level – you do not need any previous experience of sewing or
embroidery for this course….promise!
Booking Essential:  By phone: 01273 749 467. If you have problems getting through, please call 01435 883136.
From the NT shop: Monk’s House, The Street, Rodmell, Nr Lewes, BN7 3HF
For full events listings at Monk’s House visit: www.nationaltrust.org.uk/monkshouse
For further press information please contact:  Allison Pritchard, Assistant Property Manager, Monk’s House, The Street, Rodmell, Nr Lewes, BN7 3HF
01273 474760  email: monkshouse@nationaltrust.org.uk
‘Our Garden is a perfect variegated chintz: asters, plumasters, zinnias, geums, nasturtiums & so on; all bright, cut from coloured papers, stiff, upstanding as flowers should be.’
Virginia Woolf
About Monk’s House
‘Dropped beneath the downs’, Monk’s House is a tranquil 17th Century weatherboarded cottage that was home to the 20th Century literary icon Virginia Woolf and her husband Leonard. The Woolfs bought Monk’s House for the ‘shape and fertility and wildness of the garden’. Today, the lovely cottage garden contains a mix of flowers, vegetables, orchards, lawns and ponds and is perfect for picnics. Many of Virginia’s famous novels were penned in the writing room at the bottom of the garden.

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If you are within range of East Sussex, you can still book a seat on the bus to Rodmell for a Saturday, Sept. 21, trip to Monk’s House and Berwick Church sponsored by the Virginia Woolf Society of Great Britain.

Virginia Woolf's writing Lodge at Monk's House

Virginia Woolf’s writing Lodge at Monk’s House

Here are the details:
  • Cost: £12.50, including the coach travel and Berwick Church visit. The price excludes entry to Monk’s House at £4.10 (group rate; or free to National Trust members);  lunch at the Abergavenny Arms in Rodmell; and train travel to Lewes (advance return from London to Lewes costs £10).
  • Seats Available: Thirty places are available.

The arrangements are as follows:

  • Departure: Coach at Lewes station at 11 a.m. (to meet the 9:47 a.m. train from London Victoria); to Monk’s House for a private guided tour
  • Lunch: Approximately 1–2 p.m.
  • Berwick Church: Coach takes guests to Berwick Church for a guided visit to the murals by Anthea Arnold
  • Return: Coach leaves Berwick at 3:30 p.m. for Lewes station (for 4:20pm train to London).
Please note that, because of restricted coach access, there will be a small amount of walking. To secure a place, please email Lindsay Martin at lindsay@lindsaycmartin.co.uk.

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This season, Monk’s House is holding a number of events and workshops and a series of summer lectures for the first time.

Virginia Woolf's writing Lodge at Monk's House

Virginia Woolf’s writing Lodge at Monk’s House

Bookings for all events can be made by telephoning 01273 474760 or visiting the shop in Rodmell.

Dog Days

Dates: 5 dates between 16 June 2013 and 20 October 2013
Price: Free event (normal admission charges apply)

There’s no need to leave the dog at home today, this is a unique  opportunity for your four-legged friends to enjoy the gardens at Monk’s House. Whether Bassett or bulldog, they will have a fantastic time exploring the grounds.

Botanical Flower Painting

Dates: 19 June 2013 10 a.m.
Price: Adult 60 (inc. lunch and private access to Monk’s House)

Weather permitting, the course will start with sketching in Monk’s House Garden, followed by guidance on different painting techniques. Booking essential

Garden Tour

Dates: 5 dates between 20 June 2013 and 17 October 2013
Price: Free event (normal admission charges apply)

Leonard Woolf was a keen gardener, whilst Virginia took much inspiration from the garden for her works. Join a guided tour to find out more about the trees, plants, flowers and history of this beautiful Bloomsbury garden.

“Leonard and Virginia, as I Remember Them” by Cecil Woolf

Dates: 21 June 2013 7:30 p.m.
Price: Adult 10 (includes a glass of wine)

Among many other works, Cecil Woolf publishes the Bloomsbury monographs, which celebrate the life, work and times of the members of the Bloomsbury Group. He was fourteen when his Aunt Virginia died, and had paid a number of visits to the Woolfs at Rodmell and in London. In this talk he will reveal fascinating insights into his time spent at Monk’s House, and his childhood recollections of Leonard and Virginia. Booking Essential.

An Introduction to Virginia Woolf by Sarah M. Hall

Dates: 5 July 2013 7:30 p.m
Price: Adult 10 (includes a glass of wine)

Learn more about Rodmell’s most famous resident, with writer and editor Sarah M. Hall. Sarah is a prominent member of the Virginia Woolf Society of Great Britain, a regular contributor to the Virginia Woolf Bulletin, and author of Before Leonard: The Early Suitors of Virginia Woolf and The Bedside, Bathtub & Armchair Companion to Virginia Woolf and Bloomsbury. Booking Essential.

To the River by Olivia Laing

Dates: 19 July 2013 7:30 p.m.
Price: Adult 10 (includes a glass of wine)

Shortlisted for the Ondaatje Prize and the Dolman Travel Book of the Year, To the River is the story of the Ouse, the Sussex river in which Virginia Woolf drowned in 1941. Booking Essential.

Monk’s House Garden by Caroline Zoob

Dates: 2 August 2013 7:30 p.m.
Price: Adult 10 (includes a glass of wine)

Caroline Zoob, celebrated textile designer and embroiderer, and her husband Jonathan, were the last tenants at Monk’s House, where they spent 10 years caring for the beautiful garden. 2013 will see the publication of  Caroline’s book about the remarkable garden that Leonard Woolf created, and in this talk she will reveal fascinating insights into how it has changed  over the past 94 years. Booking Essential.

Kick-start your Writing with New Writing South

Dates: 7 August 2013 10 a.m.
Price: Adult 70 (inc. lunch and private access to Monk’s House)

Then Kick-start your writing, led by professional writer, Evlynn Sharp, is the perfect antidote. Taking inspiration from Monk’s House and its rich literary history, the day offers a wide range of creative ideas, getting you to put pen to paper. Booking Essential.

Garden Embroidery with Vintage Textiles

Dates: 4 September 2013 11 a.m.
Price: Adult 50 (inc. lunch and private access to Monk’s House)

Spend a day with celebrated textile designer and embroiderer Caroline Zoob, making a framed picture using vintage textiles and embroidery, inspired by the beautiful garden at Monk’s House. Booking Essential.

Botanical Vegetable Painting

Dates: 18 September 2013 10 a.m.
Price: Adult 60 (inc. lunch and private access to Monk’s House)

Weather permitting; the course will start with sketching in Monk’s House allotment, followed by instruction on different painting techniques, including wet on wet, dry brush, layering, and mixing colour. Inspired by Leonard Woolf’s vegetable garden, you will practise the painting skills on your chosen subject. Booking Essential

Volunteer at Monk’s House

Monk’s House is always looking for new volunteers. Anyone who would like to while away an afternoon in Virginia Woolf’s Sussex home or among the beautiful gardens may contact the house by phone at 01273 474760 or by e-mail at monkshouse@nationaltrust.org.uk.

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This video tour of Virginia and Leonard Woolf’s Monk’s House in Rodmell, Sussex was produced by the BBC and is hosted by Paul Martin.

If you haven’t walked in her steps through England — or even if you have — this is a great way to get an up-close look at the Woolfs’ longtime home.

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time magazine coverI was in San Francisco for a few days between Christmas and New Year’s Eve. I thought about posting a year-end or new year’s message here but wasn’t sure what I might say that would be timely and relevant. But I didn’t have far to look.

My husband and I have our San Francisco rituals and routines–we frequent the same restaurants and take the same walks on every trip, adding new adventures as well. On our first night, as always, we stopped for a drink before dinner at Vesuvio’s in North Beach, the renowned Beat Generation haunt. Sipping my Bloody Mary, surrounded by the trappings of Kerouac and company, realized that I was sitting right under Virginia Woolf, immortalized here in a framed copy of the 1937 Time magazine cover.

City Lights, across the alley from Vesuvio’s, is one of my favorite San Francisco bookstores; the other is Book Passage at the Ferry Landing. There, on our second day, I finally acquired a copy of To the River, Olivia Laing’s beautiful tribute to the River Ouse and to Virginia Woolf. I started it right away and, having walked stretches of the Ouse, found myself right there with her.

An early To the Riverpassage about Woolf is evoked by observing some bees. She recalls Leonard’s bee-keeping at Monk’s House and an entry from Virginia’s diary about them, “the whole air full of vibration: of beauty, of the burning arrowy desire…” Laing sees Woolf “as attuned to nature as she is to artifice,” and the diaries “more shaggy, more luxuriant than the novels … a stronger sense of the writer at play, practising her craft.”

So now I have two sightings, enough for a respectable post, but things happen in threes, right?

Our third day took us to Bernal Heights, a neighborhood near the Mission District where I lived for two years as a child. There, at the charming Red Hill Books, I picked up a used copy of Amy Bloom’s latest story collection, Where the God of Love Hangs Out. In the first story, “Your Borders, Your Rivers, Your Tiny Villages” (Bloom has a way with titles), there it was. Claire and William share popcorn and beer after their respective spouses have gone to bed (separately) and watch “Mrs. Dalloway.”

My list of Woolf sightings in fiction is now at 71, and I’m sure I’ll have more opportunities to add to it in 2013. Happy reading and best wishes for the new year to Woolfians everywhere.

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Annie Leibovitz says Virginia Woolf was sloppy. Her evidence? Woolf’s desk in her writing lodge at Monk’s House.

This screenshot from The Guardian website shows Woolf’s desk in her writing lodge at Monk’s House.

Leibovitz photographed the desk, along with other objects, rooms and landscapes that had special meaning for her to include in her book Pilgrimage, which was published last fall.

The photo of Woolf’s desk shows scratches and stains that mar nearly the entire desk surface. After snapping it, Leibovitz wondered what the scratches and stains were all about, and she discovered “that Woolf was a very sloppy person who often spilled drinks all over her work space,” according to an interview published in the Evening Sun.

Now an eponymous photography exhibit of Leibovitz’s work is on display at the Gettysburg National Military Park Museum through Jan. 20. It features more than 70 photographs chronicling the photographer’s journey to landmarks — some literary — throughout the United States and England.

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You may be way ahead of me—I know I’m not the first on my block to read Helen Simonson’s Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand, newly released in paperback and in the top ratings on IndieBound.org and the New York Times Book Review.

A bit of a book snob, I suppose, I tend to shy away from the bestsellers, but a novel about a Sussex village—how could I resist? I put it on reserve at the public library some months ago and forgot about it until last week when I was notified that it was being held for me at my local branch.

I read it in a couple of sittings, charmed from beginning to end. Delightful and well written, it’s a contemporary novel of manners, an adult romance founded on a love of literature, a morality tale against racism and greed, all set in the East Sussex countryside, Virginia Woolf’s beloved landscape.

And of course, as I read it I couldn’t help thinking about Woolf and her life in Rodmell, about my own times there, brief tastes of village life, walks on the downs and to the coast, lunches at charming country pubs.

Like Woolf, Major Pettigrew is a walker who observes the colors and the smells around him, even on frequently traveled terrain. He loves the stroll down the hill from his house to the village center of Edgecombe St. Mary: “Behind him, the hills swelled upward into the rabbit-cropped grass of the chalk downs. Below him the Weald of Sussex cradled fields full of late rye and the acid yellow of mustard.”

While Edgecombe St. Mary and its neighboring villages are fictional, a reference to the Romney Marsh was a clue that it was set in the area around Rye (known as Tilling to all of us Mapp and Lucia fans). Simonson indeed grew up in that region, which she describes, on her website, as “literary country.” She credits the heritage of Henry James at Lamb House in Rye, Kipling’s Bateman’s at Burwash, and Virginia Woolf at Monk’s House in Rodmell as a great inspiration.

Woolf doesn’t make an appearance in the novel by name, but she’s there in spirit. While the Major and Mrs. Ali bond over Kipling, I can imagine them reading and exchanging impressions about To the Lighthouse.

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