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Posts Tagged ‘Bloomsbury’

I’d heard the rumor — that a Virginia Woolf “collage” could be spotted in the ladies room of London’s Tavistock Hotel. But I did not expect what I actually found.

Tavistock Hotel in Bloomsbury, London

I went in search of the hotel’s unusual homage to Woolf after the 28th Annual International Conference on Virginia Woolf in June at the University of Kent in Canterbury, England.

The clerk at the Tavistock’s front desk directed me to the lobby level ladies room, where I expected to see a lone framed Woolf collage on the wall near the door or the sinks.

Loo decor

I found something entirely different. The wall behind each toilet in each ladies room stall was decorated with a long framed graphic featuring Woolf and her works. Each was cut to feature a different element of her work.

Luckily, the ladies room was unoccupied when I entered, so I was able to take a photograph of each stall. However, some of my photos are a bit tipsy, due to the fact that I had to prop each stall door open with my foot while hurriedly snapping individual pictures.

I made sure to include the commode and toilet tissue roll in the photo when I could manage it, as evidence that this Woolf sighting actually took place in a loo. 

 

The hotel’s Woolf & Whistle serves light meals and beverages.

Traditional afternoon tea is also offered at the Tavistock Hotel’s Woolf & Whistle.

 

About the Tavistock

Blue plaque honoring Virginia and Leonard Woolf installed to the left of the front entrance of the Tavistock Hotel.

The hotel is famous because it is built on the site of Virginia and Leonard’s flat at 52 Tavistock Square, in which they lived from 1924-1939.

A blue plaque commemorating that fact was unveiled on the exterior of the building in April.

 

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Remember The Bloomsbury Cookbook: Recipes for Life, Love and Art by Jans Ondaatje Rolls? Published in 2014 with all proceeds going to The Charleston Trust, it offered more than 180 recipes — some handwritten and never before published — from Frances Partridge, Helen Anrep and David and Angelica Garnett.

The recipes, according to publisher Thames & Hudson, promised to “take us into the very heart” the world of the Bloomsbury Group by recreating mealtime atmospheres at locations such as Monk’s House, Charleston Farmhouse and Gordon Square.

I pored over the book recently and picked recipes that I thought were closest to a Bloomsbury version of a traditional American Thanksgiving holiday meal.

I won’t be substituting any of these dishes for my family’s standby favorites, but here’s the Thanksgiving menu I chose from the book of Bloomsbury recipes.

A Bloomsbury Thanksgiving Menu

Cauliflower Soup, p. 306

Charleston Grouse, p. 274

Frances Partridge’s Haricots Verts, p. 79

Gingernut Biscuits, p. 25

Neptune’s Fruit Banquet, p. 207

Homemade Gateau de Pommes, p. 200 or

Baked Apple Pudding, p 343

Beyond recipes

The book is more than a cookbook. It includes photographs, letters, journals and paintings that contribute a social history angle as well.

Read more about Virginia Woolf and cookbooks on Alice Lowe’s blog.

 

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Gower Street Waterstones

About 25 Virginia Woolf fans gathered at Gower Street Waterstones this afternoon to talk about ”Woolf, Walking & Writing” in advance of the official #DallowayDay this Wednesday.

The walk

The bookstore and the Virginia Woolf Society of Great Britain sponsored the event, which began with an hour-long tour of Bloomsbury guided by Jean Moorcroft Wilson, author of Virginia Woolf’s London.

Jean began the walk with the suggestion that we think about it as a shopping expedition, one Woolf would have taken in her day. She then led us around the Bloomsbury squares where Woolf and other Bloomsbury Group members lived, putting each in context by adding quotes from Woolf’s diaries and references to her 1925 novel Mrs. Dalloway.

The talks

Back at the shop, the event included a panel discussion about writing with two writers — Francesca Wade and Farah Ahamed. Wade is writing a book about interwar women and Mecklenburgh Square and Ahamed writes fiction and essays.

The event concluded with wine and a presentation about Woolf’s photographs by Maggie Humm, author of Snapshots of Bloomsbury.

Here are some photos from the day.

The Woolf crowd gathers at Waterstones for the tour led by Jean Moorcroft Wilson.

Jean Moorcroft Wilson on the doorstep of 46 Gordon Square, Woolf’s first Bloomsbury home.

Our next stop was the Tavistock Hotel, where this blue plaque honoring Virginia and Leonard Woolf was installed this spring. The hotel is located on the site of their former home at 52 Tavistock Square, which was destroyed in World War II.

At Waterstones, ready for the #DallowayDay talks

A display of books by and about Woolf and the Bloomsbury Group available at the shop.

Panel discussion on Woolf and writing with M.L. Banting, Farah Ahamed and Francesca Wade.

Maggie Humm talks about Woolf’s photography and how it relates to her writing.

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Bloomsburiana, the first issue of the Annual Bulletin of the Italian Virginia Woolf Society, is out.

I was lucky enough to meet Elisa Bolchi and Sara Sullam, two members of the new society, at the 27th Annual International Conference on Virginia Woolf last June in Reading, England. The following month, Elisa, who is the society’s president, sent Blogging Woolf a report on what the group and its members — 84 at the time — were doing.

Recently, Elisa was kind enough to share the bulletin with Blogging Woolf, so we are sharing it with you here.  It is an attractive publication with original cover art by Lucrezia Gentile, and it is definitely worth a long look.

The society has a Facebook page, as well as a website, which society founders are working on making bilingual.

Elisa Bolchi and Sara Sullam, two members of the new Italian Virginia Woolf Society who attended last June’s Woolf conference in Reading, England. Elisa is the society’s president.

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This Christmas day, I unwrapped a present from my landlady and, completely unexpectedly, a small purple hardback book with gold lettering and a beautiful portrait of Virginia Woolf fell onto my lap. I was delighted, and proceeded to read it cover to cover amidst wrapping paper and ended up holding back tears to prevent myself being utterly embarrassed in front of my in-laws.

virginia woolf life portraits

© Zena Alkayat and Nina Cosford

Virginia Woolf (Life Portraits) by Zena Alkayat and Nina Cosford poetically weaves the story of Woolf’s life with Alkayat’s considered text and Cosford’s illustrations, a fresh response to the Bloomsbury aesthetic. It opens with the following quote from Mrs Dalloway:

She sliced like a knife through everything; at the same time was on the outside, looking on.

This liminality, both the relation between work and life and Woolf’s psychological flux, is represented thoughtfully throughout the biography.

street haunting in life portrait

© Zena Alkayat and Nina Cosford

Alkayat focuses on the personal details of life: how Vanessa Bell’s sheepdog Gurth accompanied her “street haunting”, how Leonard and Virginia Woolf spent nights during the First World War in their coal cellar sitting on boxes, and that they later named their car “the umbrella”. She also puts us on a first name basis with Virginia, Vanessa and Duncan, et al. – a choice which made me feel closer to their world.

charleston in woolf life portrait

© Nina Cosford

Cosford’s illustrations are both sensitive to the Bloomsbury style and offer a fresh perspective. Her bold lines and patterns used to illustrate the pages about Vanessa Bell’s cover designs for Virginia Woolf’s novels, for example, are edged with mark-making in the mode of Bell. Her use of colour also seems emotive, following the waves of high and low that punctuate the narrative. Her illustrations capture the paraphernalia of every-day life, from the objects atop Woolf’s writing desk – diary, hair grips, photo of Julia, sweets – to the plants in the garden at Monks House, bringing Virginia’s life closer to home.

monks house plants

© Nina Cosford

Illustration and text come together beautifully in this miniature autobiography and would provide any reader with a poetic and surprising escape into the life of Virginia Woolf.

 

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Three Bloomsbury lectures by Sarah Latham Phillips, MA that will benefit the Art Fund in Bristol will be held on Wednesdays in November — Nov. 8, 15, and 29 — at Redland Quaker Meeting Rooms, 126 Hampton Rd, BRISTOL BS6 6JE.

Phillips is the author of Virginia Woolf as a ‘Cubist’ Writer, available from Cecil Woolf Publishers.

Tickets are £12.50 per lecture or £35 for the series. Contact helenthornbury@aol.com or bristolandbath@artfund.org.uk.

Lecture 1 : An Introduction to the Art and Lives of the Bloomsbury Group

This lecture will introduce the controversial and influential, early modern British, avant-garde Bloomsbury Group: painters, writers, an economist & art critics; at the heart of which were the two sisters Vanessa Bell & Virginia Woolf. It will identify the importance of the artist and criticRoger Fry and his ideas behind the Omega Workshop.

Lecture 2 : More Bloomsbury: Artists, Writers and Patrons on the Fringe of Bloomsbury

This lecture will give more detail on the Bloomsbury Members, particularly John Maynard Keynes and Lytton Strachey and then broaden the circle to introduce Lady Ottoline Morrell, Vita Sackville West, David Garnett, Lydia Lopokova, Dora Carrington, Ralph & Frances Partridge and Gerald Brenan.

Lecture 3 : The Influence of the Visual Arts on the Writing Style of Virginia Woolf

Virginia Woolf’s novels and short stories of the 1920’s are highly innovative, creative and Modernist in their design. This lecture will introduce the art critics Roger Fry and Clive Bell, their Post Impressionist Exhibitions in London in 1910 and 1912 and explain the influences of Cezanne, Picasso, Braque and Matisse and her artist sister Vanessa Bell on her life and work.

Booking Form

Please ensure that you make separate cheques out for each event booked.

Event: ________________________________________

Number of tickets:____

Cheque enclosed – amount:____________________________________________

Member’s name:______________________________________________________

Guest’s name (member/ non member):____________________________________

Address:___________________________________________________________

_________________________________________________________________

e-mail address______________________________

Tel No:__________________

Please complete this form, enclose a cheque made out to Art Fund Bristol and Bath, and return to: Abi Cush, 36 Gadshill Road, Eastville, BRISTOL BS56LL Tel: 07833762460 email: bristolandbath@artfund.org.uk.

An email will be sent to you on receipt of the cheque. Your ticket(s) will be emailed 2 weeks before the event (or posted if you have sent a SAE). There are no refunds.

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Collecting books was the topic of the “Book Collectors and the Book Trade” panel at the 27th Annual International Conference on Virginia Woolf Conference in Reading, England, in June. So it’s no wonder my mind clicked into gear when I received an email full of Woolf treats from fellow Woolf hunter, book collector, and seller Jon S. Richardson.

June conference panelists included Leslie Arthur of the William Reese Company in Connecticut on “Bibliographers, Booksellers, and Collectors of the Hogarth Press,” Catherine Hollis of U.C. Berkeley on “The Common Reader and the Book Collector,” and Stephen Barkway of the Virginia Woolf Society of Great Britain on “Hogarth Press Books,” the story of his personal collection.

Attached to Richardson’s email was the September 2017 list of volumes he has for sale, which include some by or about Virginia Woolf and Vita Sackville-West, other Bloomsbury writers, and the extended Stephen clan.

What’s on the list

There are 70 items offered on the current list. Here are just a few:

  • Woolf, Virginia. MRS. DALLOWAY, New York, Harcourt, [1931], 296 pp., 6th impression of the first American edition in deep orange cloth with spine label, VG+ with a pristine spine label, Kirkpatrick A9b, this copy with the exceedingly rare Bell jacket in yellow/black/ cream design, being the 1931 issue of the jacket (with a blurb on To The Lighthouse on rear inner flap), jacket is VG+ with trivial loss to spine ends and two tiny areas of abrasion on spine, price of $2.50 on flap, but no sunning, front inner flap has blurb on Mrs. Dalloway with N.Y. Times review quotation, prior owners’ signatures on flysheet, a most handsome copy of this Bell artwork which is identical to the first edition. $785
  • Quentin Bell & Virginia Nicholson. CHARLESTON-A BLOOMSBURY HOUSE AND GARDEN, New York, Holt, 1997, first American edition, oblong quarto, fine with near fine dust jacket,152 pp., profusely illustrated in color, a room-by-room excursion through this home so central to Bloomsbury outside London. $55
  • Sackville-West, V. CHALLENGE, New York, George H. Doran, [1923], the third impression in RED CLOTH, lettered in black on spine and on upper board, see notes to Cross A9b, VG, 297 pp., dedicated to Violet Trefusis in the Romany dialect they shared, a scarce appearance of this book suppressed in England by Lady Sackville who feared the disclosure of VS-W’s relationship with Violet Trefusis, number of copies unknown. $95
  • [Bell, Grant, Woolf & Bloomsbury] A complete run of THE CHARLESTON NEWSLETTER, Issues Nos. 1-24 (1982-89) + index (all published); published by the Charleston Trust, Richmond, Surrey, edited by Hugh Lee, wrappers, VG, s contained in two volume custom green bindings supplied by Charleston at the time – these bindings are unusual in using a string technique which allows removal but also allows volumes to open nearly flat for ease of copying; an amazing work of scholarship starting with the formation of the Trust to save Charleston, many contributions by Quentin Bell and other Bloomsbury people then alive, many issues have color plates of Bloomsbury art by Bell & Grant especially Charleston and other rooms decorated by them; great sequence of articles on Bloomsbury bookplates with copies, the breadth of the topics is vast, ultimately succeeded by The Charleston Magazine in 1990; scarce in the complete set and an essential Bloomsbury reference source as much of this material (from original Bloomsbury members then still alive) exists only here. $485

Background on the Woolf hunters

According to “Woolf Hunters,” a 2010 article in the Harvard Magazine, Richardson founders Jon and harbor books screenshotMargaret Richardson have made hunting down the works of Virginia Woolf and the Bloomsbury Group their mission since opening York Harbor Books in Maine more than 20 years ago.

To receive your own list, contact Jon S. Richardson Rare Books at yorkharborbooks@aol.com.

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