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Archive for February, 2017

Happy birthday to Cecil Woolf, nephew of Leonard and Virginia Woolf and the dearest of friends, who is 90 today — and still runs Cecil Woolf Publishers, a small London publishing house in the tradition of the Woolfs’ Hogarth Press.

Cecil Woolf at 46 Gordon Square, London, where Virginia lived from 1905-1907

Cecil Woolf at 46 Gordon Square, London, where Virginia lived from 1905-1907.

As the oldest living relative of Virginia and Leonard, Cecil attends annual Woolf conferences as often as he can, where he displays his most recent volumes in the Bloomsbury Heritage series. He is often featured as a speaker at those events. And the reminiscences about his famous aunt and uncle and the time he spent with them are treasured by conference-goers.

At the last Woolf conference, Cecil gave me a personal tour of Bloomsbury. At the Woolf conference in New York City in 2009, he was interviewed by The Rumpus.

Cecil is also often called upon to assist at ceremonies honoring his Uncle Leonard. In 2014, he planted a Gingko biloba tree in Tavistock Square garden to commemorate the centennial of the arrival of his uncle Leonard in Colombo, Ceylon. In 2014, he spoke at the unveiling of a Blue Plaque commemorating his uncle’s 1912 marriage proposal to Virginia at Frome Station.

I only wish I could be in London to celebrate this milestone birthday with Cecil and his wife, Jean Moorcroft Wilson, and the rest of their family. Cecil tells me the official family celebration will take place  Saturday, Feb. 25.

Jean Moorcroft Wilson and Cecil Woolf on stage at the 2016 Annual International Conference on Virginia Woolf at Leeds Trinity University.

Jean Moorcroft Wilson and Cecil Woolf on stage at the 2016 Annual International Conference on Virginia Woolf at Leeds Trinity University.

Jean Moorcroft Wilson and Cecil Woolf with their display of Bloomsbury Heritage monographs at the 2016 Woolf conference

Scholar and author Jean Moorcroft Wilson and Cecil Woolf with their display of Bloomsbury Heritage monographs at the 2016 Woolf conference.

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Inspired by previous Blogging Woolf post Tea at the Morton, here’s what it’s like to spend the night at the Morton Hotel in London’s Bloomsbury.

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Opposite leafy Russell Square the Morton Hotel curves around the corner of Woburn Place. Ideally placed to explore Bloomsbury, this hotel manages to embrace the iconic Bloomsbury group style without becoming a caricature. The fluid touches of Vanessa Bell inspired textiles and prints add style and idiosyncrasy to the classic greys and dark wooden furniture. Indeed, as many homes of the Bloomsbury group mixed classic family heirlooms with bright fresh colour palettes, so too does this newly renovated hotel blend the Bloomsbury aesthetic with classic and comfortable chic.

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From the Library to Bedrooms, the hotel is adorned with Omega Workshops prints, Woolf’s book cover designs by Vanessa Bell and collages of black and white Bloomsbury photographs.

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Each bedroom is named after a key Bloomsbury figure – Virginia Woolf, Vanessa Bell, Duncan Grant, E. M. Forster, Roger Fry, Lytton Strachey and, our room, Lady Ottoline Morrell. The doors of the rooms are identified with portrait silhouettes, a motif which is subtly repeated within the room pulling the individual scheme together.

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Against the neutral colours and simple shapes our wallpaper was the stand out feature. Echoing Duncan Grant’s design Arion Riding a Dolphin for the chest in his bedroom at Charleston House, our wallpaper reinterpreted this myth in soft grey and vibrant orange. A bedside notepad was also printed in the same design.

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The bed itself was very comfy and extremely spacious and the bathroom had some deliciously botanical bergamot and neroli toiletries by Woods of Windsor. The room had all the tech you might want but it was unobtrusive so that the bedroom remained a calm oasis away from the bustle of Russell Square Tube Station – a minute’s walk from the front door.

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Finally, breakfast was warm crisp pastries, a selection of cheese and cold meats, juice, fresh fruit and hot tea and coffee in the Library.

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Read Alice Lowe’s post on her blog about her essay in the Baltimore Review to find out how she ties Virginia Woolf’s A Room of One’s Own to the topic of 19th-century Arctic exploration.

How did I come to write about 19th-century Arctic exploration? It started with a song, as I explain in my essay “The Idea of North.” One thing led to another, and I was off on a tangent…

Source: The Idea of North | Alice Lowe blogs … about writing & reading & Virginia Woolf

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Yes, that’s right, Bloomsbury scents. Jo Malone London has created a set of perfumes inspired by the Bloomsbury group.FB message

I first learned of them via a Facebook message from my Arizona niece Christina, who works in the beauty industry. But the word soon spread via the VWoolf Listserv.

A spokesperson for the company said a visit to Charleston inspired the collection, which will launch next month and include five limited edition scents: Blue Hyacinth, Tobacco and Mandarin, Whisky and Cedarwood, Leather and Artemisia, and Garden Lilies. Each fragrance is available as a 30ml bottle and will be priced at £45. Yikes!

Her concept is calculated to perpetuate the modern world’s obsession with the Bloomsbury lifestyle over their work, something Virginia Nicholson criticized in her recent interview on BBC Radio 4’s Women’s Hour program.

Read more hype about the collection in The Telegraph.

We enjoyed the idea that this group of people appeared to be very English and proper but they were in fact non-conformists and true hedonists. We liked how the ‘proper’ contrasted with the ‘promiscuous’. -fragrance director Celine Roux

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Actors have been chosen for the roles of Virginia Woolf and Vita Sackville-West for the upcoming film Vita and Virginia, according to The Guardian.

The part of Woolf will be played by French actress, Eva Green, and the role of Seckville-West will be played by English actress, Gemma Arterton.

Both Green and Arterton have appeared in several major motion pictures, and both have experience playing “Bond Girls” in James Bond films.

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Actress Eva Green will play Woolf (image via Pinterest).

Eva Green has appeared in many films including Dark Shadows, 300, and recently, Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children.

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Actress Gemma Arterton will play Sackville-West (image via BBC).

Gemma Arterton has also appeared in many films including Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time, Byzantium, and Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters.

Harper’s Bazaar has created side-by-side images of the actresses and of their subjects for a visual analysis:

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Green and Woolf (image via Harper’s Bazaar).

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Arterton and Sackville-West (image via Harper’s Bazaar).

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Luckily, when Virginia Woolf was criticized for being too outspoken in her views about the connections between patriarchy, fascism, and war, she persisted. And so we have Three Guineas (1938). It still applies today.

And #neverthelessshepersisted has become a battle cry after Republican leader Mitch McConnell’s censure of Elizabeth Warren on the floor of the Senate last night. Read the Washington Post and New York Times stories.

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If, like me, you can’t cross the Pond to see the current Vanessa Bell exhibit at London’s Dulwich PictureHarper' Bazaar VB cover Gallery, get a glimpse of what you’re missing online.

Here’s what you can access about the exhibit, which opens today and runs through June 4:

  • Listen to the BBC Radio 4 Woman’s Hour interview with Virginia Nicholson as she talks about her grandmother’s work and shares her fascinating reminisces about her experiences with Vanessa. Just click on “Vanessa Bell” in the horizontal bar above the time bar.
  • Visit Legacy: Photographs by Vanessa Bell and Patti Smith, a special display that brings together photographs by Vanessa Bell and the American writer, artist and musician, Patti Smith.
  • Shop for Vanessa Bell inspired items at the Dulwich Picture Gallery online shop. I just did and found that shipping costs weren’t too prohibitive. You’ll find books, tea things, pillow shams, art and a collector’s edition of Harper’s Bazaar that features a Bell painting on the cover.
  • Read The Guardian‘s preview.
  • Read reviews from The Evening Standard and The Telegraph.
  • Watch the preview video.

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