Pattern design is central to the art of Bloomsbury. And as a new pair of interns starts their tenure at Charleston, the outgoing attic interns share some of the beautiful designs they discovered.
Eleanor Crook is creating a life-sized Virginia Woolf that will be presented, fully dressed, inside a room of her own — a wooden wardrobe.
The finished wax work Woolf will be placed in the foyer of the newly refurbished Virginia Woolf building at 22 Kingsway at King’s College, London.
Crook, a sculptor and medical artist, will dress her creation in clothing modeled after the dress, shawl and hat Woolf wore in a 1923 photograph taken by Lady Ottoline Morell. It pictures Woolf sitting side by side on a garden bench with Lytton Strachey. She is smoking.
According to Crook’s website, she was asked by the historian Dr. Ruth Richardson and by King’s College London to make the wax version of Woolf.
You can view her progress on the sculpture by viewing photos Crook has included on her website. She expects the work to be finished in October.
Woolf was a student at the former King’s Ladies’ Department where she took classes in Greek, Latin, history and German between 1897 and 1902.
— Eleanor Crook Sculpt (@CrookEleanor) October 1, 2015
— Eleanor Crook Sculpt (@CrookEleanor) September 30, 2015
— Eleanor Crook Sculpt (@CrookEleanor) September 27, 2015
In February 1910 Duncan Grant was invited by Maynard Keynes to join him on a visit to Greece and Asia Minor. While their physical relationship was over by this time, as detailed in an earlier blog post here, the couple remained close friends and continued to travel abroad together, their trips often funded by Keynes.
When new fiction disappoints me, as it often does, I go back to old favorites. My summer reading has consisted of rereading a few books I’ve threatened to give a second or third go. A couple of them surprised me with mentions of Virginia Woolf that I’d forgotten.
I started with Rules of Civility by Amor Towles, which I wrote about here with great enthusiasm a few years ago. It’s still one of my all-time favorite contemporary novels, and I appreciated, once again, his references to Woolf as a contemporary icon for his 1930s characters.
Mary Wesley is one of those late-blooming authors I return to for “it’s never too late” inspiration. Her first novel was published in 1983 when she was 70, and she followed with nine more over the next 14 years; two were adapted for BBC television movies. They’re witty and wise, sometimes just plain silly—perfect summer reading.
I started with her first novel, my favorite, Jumping the Queue, in which Matilda, tired of life, and Hugh, a hunted “Matricide,” are planning separate suicides in Devon waters when they accidentally meet. If you thought Gone Girl was special with its Woolf suicide reference, Mary Wesley was there first.
Hugh: “I was going to fill my pockets with stones and go into the river like Virginia Woolf.”
Matilda: “I’d forgotten about Virginia Woolf and the stones. I must remember.”
I saw the film “Learning to Drive,” thrilled to see a personal essay adapted to film, even if it bore only slight resemblance to its source. I decided to reread Katha Pollitt’s real story, the title piece in her excellent 2007 collection, and the rest of the essays in it too. In “Memoir of a Shy Pornographer” (the lengths writers will go to in order to make a living from words!) she’s just out of college and takes a job as a freelance copy editor and proofreader of porn novels. She talks about the tedium of reading drawn-out sex scenes:
The Beeline writers had hit upon the very techniques pioneered by the giants of high modernism: stream of consciousness, internal monologue, indirect discourse, dream sequences, disruptions of time, and far too many adjectives. Sometimes, when I saw a single sentence throbbing and thrusting down a whole page and maybe the next one too, I would cheat a bit and just kind of sweep over it with my eyes. I did the same thing with The Sound and the Fury and The Waves.
And so it goes….
If you have 16 minutes and an interest in Virginia Woolf’s life and writing — and you must or you wouldn’t be visiting this blog — take a look at this Virginia Woolf timeline in photographs. It’s set to Phillip Glass music and it will make you recall The Hours.
Here is the latest post from The Charleston Attic, a blog written by curatorial interns working at Charleston, home of twentieth century artists, Vanessa Bell and Duncan Grant, and their daughter Angelica Garnett. It was also the Sussex retreat of the Bloomsbury Group.
Up in the attic studio at Charleston we have been privileged to learn so much about photographing, cataloguing, researching and caring for the fascinating objects in the Angelica Garnett Gift.
This 10-minute video uses clever animation and a narrator with a charming British accent to tell the story of Virginia Woolf’s life and writing within the context of Modernism. It is produced by The School of Life.