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Victorian Giants: The Birth of Art Photography, a major new exhibit at the National Portrait Gallery in London, includes Virginia Woolf’s great-aunt, Julia Margaret Cameron.

The exhibit, March 1 – May 20, also features three other celebrated figures in art photography: Lewis Carroll, Oscar Rejlander  and Clementina Hawarden. These four artists would come to embody the very best in photography of the Victorian era, according to the NPG.

Julia Jackson, as photographed by Julia Margaret Cameron

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As we reported back in 2011, Virginia Woolf’s Monk’s House photos are now online, thanks to Harvard University. You can view the entire 182 pages of the photo albums, page by page.

The digitized material now available online includes all the images in Virginia Woolf’s photo albums, numbered one through six, that Frederick R. Koch gave to Harvard’s Houghton Library in 1983. They include the 1,000 photos in Maggie Humm’s 2006 book Snapshots of Bloomsbury: the Private Lives of Virginia Woolf and Vanessa Bell.

Snapshots of Bloomsbury

In the albums are snapshots taken by Woolf and her friends and family, including portraits and scenic landscapes of their homes and travels. Virginia and Vanessa were avid photographers, using a portable Kodak to shoot their pictures. They also developed their photos, printed them and mounted them in albums.

Details from the catalog item description

The majority of the photographs in the album are snapshots possibly taken by Virginia Woolf or by her friends and family. The rest of the photographs include portraits or scenic landscapes of their homes or from their travels. Subjects include Virginia Woolf, Leonard Woolf, Julian Bell, Quentin Bell, Vanessa Bell, George Duckworth, Stella Duckworth, T. S (Thomas Stearns) Eliot, Angelica Garnett, Duncan Grant, John Lehmann, Noel Olivier, William Plomer, V. (Victoria) Sackville-West, Adrian Stephen, Julia Duckworth Stephen and Sir Leslie Stephen. Some locations of the photographs were identified.

Some were taken at the home of Leonard and Virginia Woolf, Monk’s House (Rodmell, England) and at their publishing business, Hogarth Press. Other family homes included is the childhood home of Virginia Woolf, Talland House in St. Ives (Cornwall, England) as well as the home of her sister, Vanessa Bell, Charleston Farmhouse (West Firle, England). Other locations included Sissinghurst Garden (England) as well as other locations. Virginia and Leonard Woolf also took photographs during their vacation in England, France and Germany. Most of these images are of landscapes or buildings.

More on the albums

Read more about the albums on Open Culture and on the My Modern Met website.

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This video from UK TV – BBC2’s “The Culture Show” features Patti Smith’s views and photographs of sites connected to the Bloomsbury Group, from Charleston to the River Ouse.

In it, she muses on the special silvery light of the English countryside that shimmers in her black and white photos of Bloomsbury country sites.

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Garsington albumCan’t make it to the last week of the exhibition Virginia Woolf: Art, Life and Vision at the National Portrait Gallery? You can see some of it online.

Society hostess Lady Ottoline Morrell’s photograph albums provide a record of guests at her homes  in London and Garsington, Oxfordshire and are featured in the exhibition. You can explore her Garsington album online, which includes images of Woolf and her circle.

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Virginia Woolf: Art, Life and Vision,” the exhibit of Woolf portraits at the National Portrait Gallery in London, opened July 10 and runs through Oct. 26. Formal reviews are appearing online. But informal ones are popping up on the VWoolf Listserv as well.

Below are some comments from lucky visitors to the exhibit who posted their thoughts to the list this week:

“I saw the show last week and was captivated. I particularly enjoyed the section on Woolf and public transport! That said, there was a glaring, dismaying mistake in one of the captions. Under a first edition of Ulysses, Harriet Shaw Weaver is identified as the “owner of the Shakespeare & Company bookshop in Paris” who approached the Hogarth Press about publishing the full book. Of course Weaver was the editor of The Egoist, who serialized Ulysses and yes approached the Woolfs. Sylvia Beach was the owner of Shakespeare & Company, who finally published the book herself, at great personal expense, and as far as I know had no dealings with the Woolfs or Hogarth.” – Laura

“I was lucky enough to have my trip to London coincide with the exhibit. I wish it had not been so crowded, as it was hard to pace myself, but I was so glad to get the chance! The book that Spalding has compiled for the exhibit NPG bookwould be worth the while, I think, and is likely available online through the NPG. It’s very well curated, with some rare pieces, including candid shots from Ottoline Morrell’s photo album. I think the impromptu snaps of Virginia are often so much more interesting than those she posed for.”  – Andrea Adolph

“Frances Spalding has done a wonderful job of creating a narrative through visual artefacts.  Those photos by Ott can actually be seen on the NPG website, I believe.  I was surprised by Mark Gertler’s painting of Koteliansky (?Kot?): quite irrationally I had always imagined Kot as an ascetic and tiny man, but in this portrait he looks like a big burly businessman!  There are some real rarities in the show?the bound volumes of letters that Violet Dickinson returned to VW late in life; I had not ever known Violet annotated these (of course, under glass one can only see a page, but the prospect is tantalizing); also the actual Gestapo list on which L & VW’s names appear.  And yes, the catalog is very rich and interesting.  I am in London doing research for a biography of Clive Bell, so was lucky to be able to see this wonderful exhibition.” – Mark Hussey

NPG twitter feed“I think we should all vacate our posts and head to London! :-)” – Kimberly Coates

If you’re visiting the exhibit, tweet your thoughts using the hashtag #NPGWoolf. By searching tweets with that hasthtag, I found this review on another WordPress blog in which the writer says the exhibit left her “inspired to firstly read everything she’s ever written (starting with Orlando) and secondly, to journal in a more dedicated way.”

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Now online via Flickr: A small collection of photos from the 24th Annual International Conference on Virginia Woolf: Writing the World  in Chicago.

Have any you’d like to share? Send them along to Blogging Woolf.

View the photos here or by clicking on the link in the right sidebar under the heading Woolf SnapsRead more about the conference.

2014 conference photos

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Virginia Woolf spent summers at Talland House in St. Ives, Cornwall, until her mother, Julia Stephen died in 1895. And her novel To the Lighthouse (1927) was inspired by Godrevy Lighthouse, which she could see from her summer home.

So when I read the news that Godrevy Lighthouse will replace its winking white dual beam light with modern LEDs, I was prompted to do some ambling around the Web.

In the process, I found photos of St. Ives that date from the 1890s to the 1940s. Take a look at these  old photos of St. Ives. I promise you will be charmed.

And while you are at it, view color film footage of the harbor and streets of St. Ives, Cornwall, and of the streets of London in 1924, during Woolf’s time. You can get the back story on this project and watch the video here.

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