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Posts Tagged ‘Bloomsbury Group’

Charleston, a treasure trove of Bloomsbury art and culture, is in dire need. Can you help?

Charleston

The longtime home of Vanessa Bell and Duncan Grant and the country refuge for the Bloomsbury group, along with its garden, galleries, shop and café, are temporarily closed due to the coronavirus pandemic.

That means the charity that receives no public funding is bereft of income from visitor admissions, as well as its main fundraising event. The Charleston Festival, scheduled for May, is cancelled.

As a result, Charleston has issued an emergency appeal for donations from those who appreciate this unique venue, no matter what side of the pond they live on.

You can find out more, including how to make a donation — whether you are a UK citizen or not — here.

Charleston as seen from the farm track to the home. The gravel, the lawn, bushes, and the facade of the house are the same as in the time of Vanessa Bell and Duncan Grant.

The Charleston garden

The Famous Women Dinner Service painted by Vanessa Bell and Duncan Grant between 1932 and 1934 has been on display in the Outer Studio at Charleston.

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This news comes from the Virginia Woolf Society of Great Britain. Member Martin Ferguson Smith is the author or co-author of two new articles on pivotal figures in the Bloomsbury Group.

  1. “Clive Bell’s Memoir of Annie Raven-Hill”, English Studies 100 (2019), pp. 823-854. Illustrated. With Helen Walasek.
    The first publication of Clive Bell’s frank recollections of his first lover, the wife of the illustrator and cartoonist Leonard Raven-Hill. The affair began in 1899, when she was 35 and he not quite 18, and continued on and off until 1914, seven years after he married Vanessa Bell. The memoir, fully annotated and discussed by the authors, is published in good time for the centenary of the exclusive Memoir Club, founded on 4 March 1920. Click on http://doi.org/10.1080/0013838X.2019.1658944, then select PDF. Please note that the authors’ allowance of free views via this link is not unlimited.
  2. “A Complete Strip-off: A Bloomsbury Threesome in the Nude at Studland”, The British Art Journal 20, 2 (Autumn 2019), pp. 72-77. Illustrated. The first presentation and discussion of a remarkable collection of nude photographs, taken out of doors, of Vanessa Bell, Clive Bell, and Roger Fry at Studland, Dorset, in September 1911. Accessible online, by kind permission of the editor of BAJ, at (and only at) www.martinfergusonsmith.com under “MODERN, Articles” and “RECENT NEWS, NOVEMBER 2019”.

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Anne Olivier Bell, art scholar, Bloomsbury matriarch, widow of Virginia Woolf’s nephew Quentin, and editor of her diaries, died yesterday at the age of 102.

Bell also helped Quentin pen his 1972 biography of his aunt and the two were instrumental in saving Charleston Farmhouse, preserving it for future generations of Bloomsbury scholars and fans.

In addition, she was known for playing an instrumental role in saving European art from the Nazis during World  II, serving in the Monuments Men effort.

As a result of her marriage to Quentin, Olivier moved into the heartland of the Bloomsbury milieu and, having inherited its values, became one of the most vigorous (and vigilant) guardians and promoters of the Bloomsbury revival. – “Anne Olivier Bell obituary,” The Guardian, July 19, 2018.

Read The Guardian obituary.

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I’m accustomed to drinking in Virginia Woolf. I imbibe her words and her wisdom on a regular basis. But last night I drank her in from a cocktail glass.

The Bloomsbury Club Bar in the Bloomsbury Hotel on London’s Great Russell Street features cocktails named after members of the Bloomsbury Group — from Virginia to Leonard to Vanessa and more.

After Frida Kahlo

After a day viewing the amazing Frida Kahlo exhibit, “Making Herself Up” at the Victoria and Albert Museum, Lois Gilmore and I headed to the hotel’s celebrated bar for a Bloomsbury cocktail. She chose Lytton Strachey. I chose Virginia, a yummy mix of gin, lemon, raspberry shrub, Cocchi Americano and egg white.

The Sitting Room in the Bloomsbury Hotel

First, though, we stopped to warm up in The Sitting Room, a cozy first-floor lounge with a welcoming fireplace, walls hung with portraits of Bloomsbury Group members, and a copy of Frances Partridge’s book, The Bloomsbury Group, prominently placed on the fireside coffee table.

Suggestions to hotel management: Identify the subjects and artists of the reproductions on your walls. Even two Woolf scholars were kept guessing at a few. And provide a safe, child-friendly lounge for your guests with youngsters. A room with an open gas fire whose name — The Sitting Room — promises a relaxed adult retreat is not quite the place for noisy toddlers who don’t sit still for long and their bulky strollers.

At the Dalloway Terrace

Last year I had lunch at the hotel’s Dalloway Terrace, which pays homage to Woolf and her 1925 novel specifically. Its outdoor venue is charming and the food delicious — although I can’t remember what I ordered beyond my dessert, a delectable hot chocolate mousse.

However, Blogging Woolf contributor Kaylee Baucom wrote a detailed review of her trips to the restaurant a year earlier.

Both venues at the Bloomsbury Hotel are worth a trip for Woolf fans. You can decide for yourself whether you want to go back for more. Kaylee votes yes. I say move on to new adventures.

Looking down on the Dalloway Terrace

Desserts at the Dalloway Terrace, including a hot chocolate mousse.

 

Virginia Woolf looks over the Dalloway Terrace menu that pays homage to her most famous character, Mrs. Dalloway.

Warm woolen blankets kill the chill of a crisp London night on the Dalloway Terrace.

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  • Bloomsbury Spirit is the first exhibition in Sweden of the art and home decor of the Bloomsbury Group, including a recreation of Charleston. It takes place at Artipelag, set on Värmdö in the Stockholm Archipelago, just 20 minutes from the city centre of Stockholm. Dates: Through Sept. 30. Get tickets.
  • Virginia Woolf: an exhibition inspired by her writings is at Pallant House Gallery​ and features 80 female artists from 1854 to the present. Dates: May 26-Sept. 16. Organized by Tate St. Ives​ with Pallant & The Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge​. Pallant House Gallery is located at 9 North Pallant, Chichester, West Sussex, PO19 1TJ.

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