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Oh, to be in London next week! The book launch of From Omega to Charleston: The Art of Vanessa Bell and Duncan Grant 1910-1934 will take place at Hatchards Piccadilly, 187 Piccadilly, London, W1J 9LE, March 14.

A panel discussion with Piano Nobile will be held at 5 p.m.  The book launch is 6 – 8.30 p.m. Limited seating is available. RSVP by emailing events@hatchards.co.uk

About the book

Added below is information provided by the Virginia Woolf Society of Great Britain:

The book is published to accompany the exhibition From Omega to Charleston: The Art of Vanessa Bell and Duncan Grant, 1910-1934, this fully illustrated catalogue includes an essay and catalogue entries by Richard Shone (author of Bloomsbury Portraits (1993) and curator of The Art of Bloomsbury, Tate, (1999), the book explores the unique creative relationship shared by Bell and Grant through rarely seen works from private collections, some of which are reproduced for the first time, and a selection of loans from The Charleston Trust.

Famous Women Dinner Service

The second half of the publication focusses exclusively on The Famous Women Dinner Service. Begun in 1932 at the request of the art historian and director of the National Gallery Kenneth Clark and his wife Jane, these fifty plates were decorated with images of famous women through the ages, from Sappho to Greta Garbo.

Considered lost by art historians for nearly 40 years, the dinner service forms an impressive testament to Bell and Grant’s close working partnership. A ground-breaking essay by Hana Leaper is succeeded by closer scholarship dedicated to the individual plates. Produced in partnership with the Paul MellonCentre for Studies in British Art, this research is published in print for the first time.

The glorious catalogue is available for view on the Issuu website.

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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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Amongst a box filled with stretched canvas and paintings on wood, we re-discovered these fantastic landscapes of the local area. Both painted by Vanessa Bell, the first is of the old Coach Road looking towards Firle Tower on the right. The leaves on the trees appear to be blowing in the wind, the farmland and coach road painted lightly in pinks and purples to represent the human touch on the landscape…

Source: Local Landscapes of Firle | The Charleston Attic

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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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This post is reblogged from The Charleston Attic.

We visited the Courtauld Gallery’s display of items from the Omega Workshops. The Workshops operated in London between 1913 and 1919 under the directorship of Roger Fry, Vanessa Bell and Duncan Gra…

Source: From Patterned to Plain: A Visit to the Courtauld Gallery Exhibition on Omega Workshops | The Charleston Attic

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Sunday, Oct. 16, marks the centenary of the arrival at Charleston of Vanessa Bell, DuncanCharleston Grant and David ‘Bunny’ Garnett. In honor of that, the National Trust property has programs and activities planned for this weekend, as well as into the new year.

They include everything from “Your Country or Your Conscience,” a pacifist theater performance by White Feathers Theatre, to tours of usually unseen parts of the farmhouse ,to art workshops.

The cafe will even have a special menu inspired by the Charleston Garden and The Bloomsbury Cookbook.

Get more details and booking information.

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Editor’s Note: This post is reblogged from The Charleston Attic

As Charleston looks forward to a weekend of Centenary celebrations, ‘The Attic’ is being specially prepared to open its doors for visitors this Sunday 16 October. Rarely on show to the public, the space, accessed by narrow, steep stairs at the top of the farmhouse was once Vanessa Bells’ studio and now stores Charleston’s extensive archive collection and works of art.  

My first blog post as Charleston’s ‘Attic intern’ showcases some of Duncan Grant’s book illustrations and book jacket designs from the 1960s. Newly catalogued from the Angelica Garnett Gift is a collection of Duncan Grant’s correspondence regarding his illustrations for a previously undiscovered short story by Virginia Woolf featuring ‘Nurse Lugton’ and a book jacket design for a novel by Margaret Lane called A smell of burning.  

Source: Book illustrations and jacket designs by Duncan Grant | The Charleston Attic

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