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Archive for July 10th, 2014

The National Literacy Trust book bench illustrating Mrs. Dalloway has been installed in Gordon Square, Mrs. Dalloway bench with mapBloomsbury for eight weeks as part of the Books About Town art trail.

The trail features fifty benches shaped as open books and decorated by professional illustrators and local artists. The project provides an opportunity for the public to explore London’s literary connections, while enjoying art from some of the country’s top artists and celebrating the fun of reading, according to the project website.

Fiona Osborne of One Red Shoe painted the Dalloway bench. It features Clarissa on the front and Septimus Warren Smith on the back, and it is located on the Bloomsbury Trail.

“I painted the Mrs. Dalloway bench as well as the Railway Children. It was a privilege to illustrate and will hopefully raise a good amount for the Literacy Trust when they hold the auction in eight weeks time,” said Osborne in an email to Blogging Woolf. She also offered to share photos of her work on the bench as it progressed.

The project was launched July 2, and the benches will be auctioned on Oct. 7, with the proceeds going to the National Literacy Trust.

The Guardian is asking book lovers to be part of a poll to select the book that will be depicted on the fifty-first bench. It is also requesting reader submissions of book bench photos.

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We are spotting lots of Woolf sightings these days, many of them due to “Virginia Woolf: Art, Life and Vision,” the exhibit of Woolf portraits at the National Portrait Gallery in London, which opens today.

Curated by Frances Spalding, noted biographer and art historian, the exhibit includes portraits of Woolf by Vanessa Bell and Roger Fry, famous photographs by Beresford and Man Ray, and intimate images depicting Woolf with friends and family.

Media coverage

An article in The Independent, Feminist writer’s friendships: feel the fear and do it anyway,” talks about the way the exhibit “will shine a spotlight on the feminist author’s relationships with other women.” One example the authors cite is the “extraordinary literary collaboration” between Woolf and Katherine Mansfield.

Another, written by Frances Spalding for The Telegraph, focuses on the actual photographs themselves and is titled “The last photograph of Virginia Woolf,” which was taken by Gisèle Freund at 37 Mecklenburgh Square in 1939. In it, Spalding fills in the background of the photo, both literally and figuratively.

On the BBC website, “Virginia Woolf: Her life in pictures” shows and dissects a number of Woolf portraits — from the famous George Beresford 1902 platinum print to the 1939 family photo portrait taken by Gisèle Freund.

The exhibit, the events, the book and the competition

Besides portraits, the exhibit features portraits and rare archival material like letters and diaries that explore her life and achievements.

A full slate of events, from lunchtime lectures to weekend workshops, are also part of the show — and they are too numerous to detail here. But you can find them on the exhibit’s events page.

Those of us who aren’t lucky enough to be in London between July 10 and Oct. 26 may want to get a taste of the exhibit by ordering Spalding’s Virginia Woolf: Art, Life and Vision, which is available online for £20.

And if you’re feeling lucky, enter the NPG’s competition for free exhibition tickets, catalogue and a two-night stay at the Morton Hotel in Russell Square.

Tweet it

If you use Twitter and want to tweet about the exhibit, use the hashtag #NPGWoolf.

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