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Archive for the ‘Vita Sackville-West’ Category

It’s National Dog Day. And of course there are ties-in to Virginia Woolf.

Number one: She had dogs. Number two: She wrote a book about a dog — Flush (1933), told from the perspective of Elizabeth Barrett Browning’s cocker spaniel.

As children, Virginia and the other Stephen siblings had a gray shaggy terrier named Shag, which was sent by train to Talland House, their summer home in St. Ives, Cornwall to help catch rats.

A new puppy, Jerry, was later added to the family mix. Still later, a sheep-dog pup without a tail named Gurth, after a character in Ivanhoe. Woolf grew attached to Gurth, even though he was her sister Vanessa’s dog, and remained attached to him, even after she and her siblings moved to 46 Gordon Square.

After Vanessa married Clive Bell and moved nearby, Virginia and brother Adiran felt the need to have their own dog. So they visited Battersea Lost Dogs Home and adopted a Boxer named Hans, who Virginia taught to put out matches after she used them to light her cigarettes, a trick she taught all her dogs after Hans.

At the onset of World War I and after Virginia married Leonard Woolf (1912), the couple offered to keep a friend’s Clumber Spaniel named Tinker when he left to serve in the war. Tinker, though, escaped from their garden and was lost. He was not found, despite the Woolfs’ fervent efforts to locate.

In 1919, they added a mixed breed terrier named Grizzle to their home in Rodmell, Monk’s House, and the canine accompanied Virginia on her walks over the Sussex downs.

Perhaps the most famous of Virginia Woolf’s dogs is Pinka, the purebred black Cocker Spaniel from a litter born to Pippin, Vita Sackville-West’s Cocker Spaniel. Pinka was a gift to the Woolfs from Vita.

For an entire chapter on the Woolfs and their dogs, take a look at Shaggy Muses by Maureen Adams.

You’ll call this sentimental—perhaps—but then a dog somehow represents the private side of life, the play side. – Virginia Woolf

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Vanessa Bell, Horatio Brown, Julia Duckworth Stephen, Thoby Stephen, Virginia Woolf, George Duckworth, Adrian Stephen, Gerald Duckworth and the family dog Shag in 1892.

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Virginia Woolf and Pinka

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The cover of Virginia Woolf’s 1933 novel “Flush: A Biography,” which included original drawings by Vanessa Bell.

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Gemma Arterton at the Chelsea Flower Show (image via IrishNews.com).

Preparations for the upcoming film Vita and Virginia are well underway. British actress Gemma Arterton, will play Vita Sackville-West in the film about the friendship between Vita and Virginia Woolf. Sackville-West was a celebrated gardener whose work continues to inspire gardeners today, so Arterton has been has been preparing for her role by gardening and spending time around flowers.

Arterton visited the RHS Chelsea Flower Show last month where she talked about her experience gardening and her work preparing to play such a respected gardener. The Irish News writes that Arterton became a “devoted gardener” while researching for the role in the film:

 

“I would like to be a big gardener and I am constantly trying to find new ways to bring it to life. I am moving house soon just so that I can have a garden.

“The role came before the passion. Vita was one of the world’s most famous gardeners, so I have been trying to get into the zone for that.”

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Andrea Riseborough will play Virginia Woolf.

 

We learn from the article that filming will take place this summer at Sissinghurst Castle in Kent. The article also states that the role of Virginia Woolf will be played by Andrea Riseborough, which is different from the original cast that was announced, which had Eva Green lined up to play Woolf.

Riseborough has been featured in such films as Brighton Rock, Oblivion, and the Oscar winning film Birdman.

The director of the film, Chanya Button, has been preparing in other ways. In May she tweeted about attending lectures on the Hogarth Press at the Charleston Literary Festival:

 

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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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Chanya Button will direct the upcoming film Vita and Virginia (image from TheFrisky.com).

Chanya Button, the director for the upcoming film Vita and Virginia, which will be about the relationship between Virginia Woolf and Vita Sackville-West, recently spoke with ScreenDaily.com about her upcoming film.

According to the article shooting for the film will start in March or April of 2017.

Button is now an up and coming director, but as a student she studied English Literature at Oxford University. She admits that she has had a long relationship with Woolf. From the article:

Virginia Woolf has been a passion for me for a long time,” Button said.

Button states that Woolf inspired her recent film Burn Burn Burn, an independent feature which will be available to stream on Netflix soon:

Woolf has influenced how I think about everything, there is even an essay she wrote, On Being Ill, that influenced Burn Burn Burn.”

According to the article, the film will cover about 15 years of the relationship between Woolf and Sackville-West, but we are now learning that it will focus specifically on events that occurred between 1925-1927. From Button:

“It’s about how their relationship inspired Orlando, It’s the study of a complex female relationship…

“It’s a fresh period drama…Also, you get a view into her creative genius, and some bonkers surreal visions.”

You can follow Chanya’s Twitter page where she has been documenting some of her research expeditions for the film including a trip she made to Vita’s home Knole House.

 

 

 

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Chanya Button will direct Vita and Virginia

Deadline.com is reporting that the film Vita and Virginia is now set to be directed by British Director Chanya Button.

Button recently directed Burn Burn Burn (2015), and tweeted her excitement with her new project, writing, “Thrilled to be Directing this. Collaborating with & celebrating brilliant women!”

This is a switch from the news we got last year which indicated that the film would be directed by Sacha Polak, the Dutch director of such films as Hemel (2012) and the documentary New Boobs (2013).

The film is based on Dame Eileen Atkins’s script Vita and Virginia, which is based on her play by the same name. The film is still set to be produced by Mirror Productions and Blinder films, and casting choices have not yet been announced.

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Virginia and Vita in 1933

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9780374172459_p0_v1_s192x300A new book by the granddaughter of Woolf’s friend and lover, Vita Sackville-West, recalls the family history of the maternal side of the Nicholson family. Juliet Nicolson, the granddaughter of Vita Sackville-West and Harold Nicolson and the daughter of Nigel Nicolson, has written a new biography titled, A House Full of Daughters: A Memoir of Seven Generations, published by Farrar, Straus and Giroux, which will be released on June 14, 2016.

This biography focuses on multiple generations of the women of Nicolson’s family. The story begins on her great-great grandmother, Pepita Duran, who was famous for her beauty and dancing, and ends of Nicolson’s own granddaughter, Imogen.

The Guardian calls Nicolson’s book, “a troubling, entertaining tale” and informs us that the biography doesn’t provide readers with much new information on Vita:

There is not much new that Nicolson can add to Vita’s life – her love for Knole and sense of loss when a cousin inherited it, her affairs with women and her marriage to Harold Nicolson and of course their creation of Sissinghurst. But somehow that makes the story of Juliet’s mother, Philippa, even more fascinating. While everybody was obsessed, Nicolson writes, with recording and recount everything that has happened on her father’s side of the family, no one cared much about the maternal line, the Tennyson d’Eyncourts. There are no diaries, few photographs, and whenever Philippa talked about her upbringing “we yawned”, Nicolson admits.

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A visual timeline of Nicolson’s family from The Daily Mail.

The Daily Mail emphasizes some tawdry aspects of the book, which reveals, “extraordinary secrets of a dynasty blighted by booze and scandalous sex.” From The Daily Mail review:

These days if you visit the garden at Sissinghurst Castle in Kent, you find what its guardians the National Trust want you to see: the stunning flowers and plants and hedges put there by Vita Sackville-West, the bohemian poet and novelist who created the garden in the Thirties.

Go back a few decades, however, and you’d have found something rather different: Sackville-West herself, dead drunk and passed out in the flower beds. On several occasions, the staff had to return her to the house in a wheelbarrow.

The Telegraph calls the book, “exceptionally moving” in their review:

Alcohol, as the narrative’s final bravura section shows, was the dark thread linking mothers to daughters throughout this gilded tale of life in magnificent houses. Nicolson’s anger, tenderness and insight have resulted in an exceptionally moving book.

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Juliet Nicolson, Vita Scakville-West’s granddaughter.

Juliet Nicolson will read from her new book in Southampton, New York on Friday, June 17, 2016 at 7pm at BookHampton located at 93 Main Street, Southhampton, NY 11968.

 

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Eileen Atkins and Vanessa Redgrave in the 1994 production of “Vita and Virginia”

Mirror Productions will soon start shooting a new film about Virginia Woolf called Vita and Virginia. The film is an adaptation of the play “Vita and Virginia” written by Dame Eileen Atkins, who also wrote the screenplay for this upcoming film. Shooting is set to being this fall and Dutch filmmaker Sacha Polak is set to direct.

The film will focus on the passionate relationship between Woolf and Vita Sackville-West, who was a celebrated poet and gardener, and is well known as being Woolf’s lover. From Mirror Productions:

Virginia and Vita’s bond continues to live on in Woolf’s canonical literature, which enjoys even more popularity today than in her lifetime. Vita and Virginia is a timeless story, told in an exciting contemporary style, about two women who smashed through social barriers to find solace in forbidden connection.

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Sacha Polak will direct the upcoming “Vita and Virginia” film.

Sacha Polak, director of the film Hemel (2012) and the documentary New Boobs (2013), believes that being a Dutch director, and not an English director, gives her a unique view as an “outsider” of the English literary community. From ScreenDaily.com:

“I think it is really good that – for this project – I am an outsider and I can look on it in a fresh way,” said Polak.

“I have the feeling that in England, everybody has a strong opinion about Virginia Woolf. Either they love her of they think that the best thing she ever did was commit suicide. I am learning every day to love her more and to be more intrigued by her.”

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Nicole Kidman as Virginia Woolf in “The Hours”

English actress Romola Garai will play Sackville-West. While the part of Virginia Woolf has yet to be cast, producers plan to present viewers with a different interpretation of Woolf than the famous portrayal of the author by Nicole Kidman in the 2002 film The Hours. From ScreenDaily.com:

Polak insists that her film’s Woolf won’t be the “gloomy” and “depressing” figure with the prosthetic nose played by Nicole Kidman in The Hours.

“We are keen on showing another Virginia Woolf, a funny one and one that was really lively.”

Read more about this upcoming film here.

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