Posts Tagged ‘Duncan Grant’

Rummage through the attic at Charleston with The Charleston Attic blog, a record of the work of graduate student interns as they catalogue, research and interpret the Angelica Garnett Gift Collection from the home’s attic. 

Recent posts of interest include:

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Here’s a piece from The Charleston Attic blog on the 140-piece dinner service featuring famous women created by Vanessa Bell and Duncan Grant. It is one of the largest commissioned works produced by the artists and was commissioned in 1932.

‘The firm of Bell and Grant’ and the Famous Women Dinner Service.

The Virginia Woolf plate is pictured in Diane Gillespie’s The Sisters’ Arts: The Writing and Painting of Virginia Woolf and The Sisters’ Arts: The Writing and Painting of Virginia Woolf and Vanessa Bell Vanessa Bell (1988, 1991), as illustration 4.13 on p. 199. Gillespie discusses the plates briefly on p. 198. The plate pictures a young Virginia Woolf in profile with her long hair secured at her neck or pinned up; it’s difficult to make out which.

According to Gillespie, the plates were divided into four groups and Woolf’s plate is included in the writers’ group. Woolf’s plate features a border of alternating squiggles and large dots. In a July 27, 2015, message to the VWoolf Listserv, Gillespie noted that she was able to see a number of the plates during the 1980s in the home of Lady Clark.

Ann Donlon wrote a Oct. 9, 2013, post about the plates on her blog after a visit to Charleston. Titled Dinner Plates, it includes images.

Also see Woolf on a plate, a 2009 post on Blogging Woolf about Judy Chicago’s The Dinner Party that includes a Woolf plate.

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Three songs from a new song cycle using Virginia Woolf’s letters to her sister, painter Vanessa Bell, are available online via SoundCloud.

Composed by Richard Barnard, they are titled ‘As A Writer‘, Nessa and Duncan, and A Dancing Light. They were recorded by Rhys Maslen at St Augustine’s Chapel, Bristol, and this part of the project was supported by Arts Council Wales.

Here are the descriptions of the songs, as copied from Barnard’s blog:

  1. ‘As A Writer’: Woolf frequently used Vanessa’s art as a metaphor for her own work. Here she describes the writing process as feeling beauty “which is almost entirely colour”, condensing ideas like pouring “a large jug of champagne over a hairpin”.
  2. ‘Nessa and Duncan’: A brilliantly teasing letter in which Woolf imagines a scene at Vanessa and Duncan Grant’s home as they discuss her recently published novel To The Lighthouse (clearly nervous of their judgement!)
  3. ‘A Dancing Light’: Part of a letter of 1937 written soon after the death of Vanessa’s son Julian in the Spanish Civil War.

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Paula Maggio:

This is a wonderful piece that puts Bloomsbury art in the social, political and cultural context of the 1920s-1930s.

Originally posted on The Charleston Attic:

There was one item in the Gift this week which particularly caught our eye, as it documents two different aspects of Duncan Grant’s life as an artist; his creative style and his status as a member of the British art world.


CHA-P-1415 Recto: Duncan Grant, drawing, nude woman carrying a basket, ink on paper, 20.1 cm x 14.1 cm. Photograph © The Charleston Trust

On one side of this postcard-sized piece of cream card is an ink drawing of a bare-breasted woman carrying what appears to be a basket of flowers. While there is no annotation or attribution accompanying the drawing, the classical theme and stylised figure suggest that it was made by Grant, possibly as a study for a decorative scheme. For example, it is reminiscent of the figures in Grant and Bell’s large interior painting of 1929 for Penns in the Rocks, the home of the poet, Lady…

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Originally posted on The Charleston Attic:

It is very easy to get lost in imagining the world, people and stories behind the pieces in the Angelica Garnett Gift and this preparatory sketch by Duncan Grant for a mural designed by both Grant and Vanessa Bell is no exception.


CHA/P/1117, Duncan Grant, Cinderella, coloured pencil on paper, date unknown, 29.5 cm x 23 cm. Photograph © The Charleston Trust

The mural was commissioned by the Council for the Encouragement of Music and the Arts and the British Institute of Adult Education in 1943 for the dining hall of Devonshire Hill School in Tottenham. The design by Grant and Bell depicted the fairytale Cinderella, and was completed during World War II. Sadly, the mural no longer exists, having been dismantled and destroyed during renovation works at the school. Perhaps even more regrettable is that few people are aware that it existed at all. Like many other decorative works…

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Life-in-Squares-_3215726bLife in Squares, the BBC Two show that tells the story of the tangled relationships of the Bloomsbury Group from 1901 to 1945, will be on the air this year, shown as three 60-minute episodes.

The program was announced by the BBC last summer.

Filming also began last summer at Charleston Farmhouse, known as Bloomsbury in the country, for scenes set in the 1930s and 1940s. In the rooms where filming took place, much of the original collection was removed, and the art department improvised to make the place more bohemian than it may have been in real life. Domestic clutter that is part of the staging includes posed photographs of the actors based on old family photographs. Filming in London took place last fall.

Two actors play the role of each character in the show, which complicated the casting process. One bit of casting seems pitch-perfect: James Norton, the crime-solving vicar on Grantchester, will play Duncan Grant. Lydia Leonard  of Ambassadors will play a young Virginia Wolf and Phoebe Fox of Switch will star as a young Vanessa Bell.

Discussions with Vanessa’s granddaughter Virginia Nicholson were key in making the show a reality.

Life in Squares gets under the skin of the Bloomsbury group to lay bare the very human and emotional story of a group of people determined to find their own path in life,” said Lucy Bedford, executive producer.

“At heart, Life in Squares is about family: about the families we try to escape, the ones we end up creating and the different kinds of damage love can do,” she added.


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Originally posted on SuchFriends Blog:

…The Omega Workshops open their doors. Using money inherited from a Quaker uncle, painter and critic Roger Fry, 46, along with his Bloomsbury painter friends, Vanessa Bell, 34, and Duncan Grant, 28, produce textiles, ceramics, home furnishings—a whole range of art and decoration, for sale at 33 Fitzroy Square.

A few doors down from the house Vanessa’s sister, Virginia Woolf, 31, had shared with their brother, it is also convenient walking distance from where Vanessa and her husband, art critic Clive, 31, live with their two children.

Planning the opening celebration, Vanessa writes to Roger:  “We should get all our disreputable and…aristocratic friends to come, and after dinner we should repair to Fitzroy Square where there should be decorated furniture, painted walls, etc. There we should all get drunk and dance and kiss, orders would flow in and the aristocrats would feel they were really in the thick of things.”…

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