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Archive for the ‘Rooms of Our Own’ Category

To mark the 90th anniversary of the first publication of Virginia Woolf’s A Room of One’s Own, Malvern Garden Buildings has created  a writing retreat inspired by Woolf’s writing lodge at Monk’s House in Rodmell for the RHS Chelsea Flower Show, which runs through May 25.

VW's writing Lodge

Virginia Woolf’s writing lodge at Monk’s House

The shed, which was created with the help of the Virginia Woolf Society of Great Britain and Monk’s House, was unveiled by Woolf’s great-niece Cressida Bell on Press Day, May 20.

It is painted a dove grey color and features double French doors opening onto a deck, as does the Monk’s House Lodge.

Inside, the lodge is furnished with a desk in the spirit of Woolf, an armchair with a tray, and a bookcase filled with a set of volumes covered in marbled paper — as was Woolf’s Shakespeare collection. Completing the look are writing paraphernalia and other objects from the 1920s and 1930s.

Once you view Malvern’s creation, I guarantee you will want one for your own back garden. I know I do.

Read more about the project and view photos as well.

A screenshot of the Malvern Garden Buildings Facebook post, as shared by the Virginia Woolf Society of Great Britain.

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Hamnett illustration

Nina Hamnett illustration of an Omega interior for Roger Fry’s The Artist as Decorator 1917. Copyright The Courtauld Gallery.

 

David Herbert’s newly opened exhibition A Room of Their Own: Lost Bloomsbury Interiors 1914-30 at the Victoria Art Gallery in Bath, England brings together rarely seen pieces of fine and decorative art to suggest the essence of lost Bloomsbury spaces.

The exhibition works from illustrations and photographs to recreate lost interiors that have been destroyed due to changing tastes and fashions. In this small gallery, nestled on the River Avon in the centre of Bath, Bloomsbury pieces are brought back together providing a springboard from which to visualise oneself eating breakfast or listening to music, as Virginia Woolf would have done, in a Bloomsbury room.

Opening with three portraits of the co-founders of the Omega Workshops, Roger Fry, Vanessa Bell, and Duncan Grant, the exhibition then leads into the first “room” which recreates the style of Fry’s 1917 Omega interior design for The Artist as Decorator, illustrated for Colour Magazine by Nina Hamnett. The bold abstraction typical of the early Omega workshop style is felt here and one can imagine how impressive the original space must have been. Of particular interest is a Lily Pond design screen by Duncan Grant which is radiant, hinting at the brightness of colour originally intended.  A lovingly worn geometric painted table also sits in front of the fire place which is dressed exactly how Hamnett depicted it in her 1917 illustration.

DG tulips

Duncan Grant, unfinished work Tulips in a Vase 1914.

The exhibition is particularly strong in its comparison of decorative and fine art and its consideration of the relationship between the two. Duncan Grant’s Cat on a Cabbage design for a cross-stitch chair seat sits next to his painting The White Jug and shows his use and exploration of abstraction across forms. His unfinished painting Tulips in a Vase also provides a rare glimpse into his process as a painter and leaves the bare skeleton sketch of the design uncovered, half way through building up colour and shape in paint.

VB fan and sketches

Vanessa Bell Adam and Eve design fan hung with figurative sketches.

There are also rarely seen works by Vanessa Bell, including her painting Vase, Hat and Flowers and a fan vibrantly painted in her Adam and Eve design. Here the Omega interest in clothing and accessories is hinted at. Well-known Omega fabric designs also fall down the walls and over chairs giving an impression of how textiles were an important medium at the Omega. Indeed, such an exhibition as A Room of Their Own which brings together the fine and decorative arts, hanging them side by side, succeeds in representing the Omega Workshops’ “wider aesthetic project of proclaiming modernism as an overall experience”1.

Omega Showcase

Display case with Duncan Grant’s Grapes fabric design glimpsed in the background.

The exhibition moves through later designs to an impression of Dorothy Wellesley’s dining room at her Sussex home, Penns-in-the-Rocks, created by Vanessa Bell and Duncan Grant in 1929. Here the colours have turned more towards elegant pastels and the wall panels depict classically influenced scenes such as a jug on a plinth and three nude bathers. Finally there is a nod to Charleston, a fantastic black three-fold screen designed by Duncan Grant and embroidered by Ethel Grant, and photographs of Duncan Grant in the studio at Charleston in 1974. Thus we see the progression of Bloomsbury style and the range of moods that it encompassed.

Other notable highlights are a Vanessa Bell teapot painted for her sister Virginia Woolf, Roger Fry’s abstract marquetry giraffe design cabinet, and a rare example of painted furniture by Dora Carrington.

A Room of Their Own: Lost Bloomsbury Interiors 1914-30 at the Victoria Art Gallery in Bath, England runs until 4 September, 2016.

1Koppen, R.S. (2009), Virginia Woolf, Fashion, and Literary Modernity, Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press.

 

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In “Forgive me, Virginia Woolf,” Melissa Bellinelli shares the story of how she created a Charleston-styleScreen Shot 2013-11-08 at 1.02.24 PM dining room of her own in a sunny Long Island home.

Her inspiration came from taking a class on Woolf and the Bloomsbury Group at Oxford, along with her frequent visits to Charleston Farm.

She remembered the details — the black stenciled walls, the hand-painted round table and the chairs designed by Roger Fry — and decided to mimic them in the dining room addition she and her husband built. So she ordered the reproduction chairs and the Biblioteque wallpaper — and went on to create her fantasy room, in two different incarnations.

Here are some other Charleston links of interest:

The Bloomsbury Crowd Pinterest

Charleston slideshow

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A new version of a room of one’s own — and portable, as well.

sub rosa

Van Bo Le-Mentzel: housing is a universal human right

The One-SQM-House is designed by Berlin-based architect Van Bo Le-Mentzel. Le-Mentzel, a Laos native, fled his home country as a refugee and has dedicated his life to examining the meaning of home and the importance of having at least one square meter of personal space.

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one-square-meter-house

Van Bo has asked: “Does the consumer really always have to be the one who’s at the very end of all the value creation chains? No. We’re not living in the industrial era any more. It’s high time for us to adapt our consumption behaviour to our own age. The next field I’d like to take a critical look at is the property market. Why is it that the price per square metre determines everything? Who does the city belong to? Why is it that only rich people are allowed to have a fine view of a park…

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Louisville Conference artworkThe International Virginia Woolf Society announces a deadline extension to Sept. 4, 2007, for proposals for the society’s Woolf panel at the Louisville Conference on Literature & Culture. The conference will be held at the University of Louisville, Feb. 21-23, 2008.

Proposals for critical papers on any topic concerning Woolf’s work are invited. A particular theme may be chosen depending upon the proposals received, organizers say.

How to submit your paper proposal via e-mail: Send a cover page with name, e-mail address, mailing address, phone number, professional affiliation, and title of paper, along with a second anonymous page containing a 250-word proposal, to Kristin Czarnecki, kczarnecki@fuse.net, by Tuesday, Sept. 4, 2007.

Featured conference speakers will include Susan Gubar, Distinguished Professor of English and Women’s Studies at Indiana University. Her most recent book is Rooms of Our Own, a narrative tale of the current state of women’s studies and gender studies.

For more details about the conference, visit the Web site.

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