Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘London’

First, there was the conference. Then came the party. In London. With the Woolfs.

On the Monday evening following days one, two, three, and four of the 27th Annual International Conference on Virginia Woolf, Cecil Woolf and Jean Moorcroft Wilson hosted a party in London for their visiting Woolfian friends who remained in town.

I was happy to be among them. But I was chagrined to arrive on their doorstep 20 minutes early due to lightning fast service by my Uber driver.

Cecil and Jean, however, didn’t blink when they answered my too-early knock. They ushered me in and escorted me up the stairs, past stacks of books from their Bloomsbury Heritage Series and a smattering of hats from Jean’s famous collection.

Cecil poured me a glass of wine and settled me in their persimmon-colored sitting room that is casually decorated with original Bloomsbury art by Vanessa Bell and Duncan Grant. It was magical.

Cecil and Jean are tremendous hosts who know how to make each guest feel specially welcome, no matter when they arrive. They created a wonderful evening full of camaraderie, good food, and drink, while introducing us to their daughter Emma Woolf, author of numerous books and a regular BBC contributor.

Afterward, when thinking about the evening, a quote came to mind that perfectly captures the mood and magic of the evening.

No need to hurry. No need to sparkle. No need to be anybody but oneself. – Virginia Woolf, A Room of One’s Own (1929)

Cecil Woolf and Jean Moorcroft Wilson hosted a post-conference party at their London home, which also houses Cecil Woolf Publishers.

This side table decorated by Duncan Grant held appetizers, as well as my little Virginia. #travelswithvirginiawoolf

Cecil Woolf and daughter Emma Woolf at the party.

Louise Higham, Suzanne Bellamy, John McCoy, and Eleanor McNees (far right) were among the party guests.

A firescreen painted by Duncan Grant.

Bloomsbury art above the fireplace, along with a piece by Suzanne Bellamy and a photo of Jean.

Judith Allen and her husband Steve.

More Bloomsbury art.

 

Read Full Post »

Inspired by previous Blogging Woolf post Tea at the Morton, here’s what it’s like to spend the night at the Morton Hotel in London’s Bloomsbury.

themorton

Opposite leafy Russell Square the Morton Hotel curves around the corner of Woburn Place. Ideally placed to explore Bloomsbury, this hotel manages to embrace the iconic Bloomsbury group style without becoming a caricature. The fluid touches of Vanessa Bell inspired textiles and prints add style and idiosyncrasy to the classic greys and dark wooden furniture. Indeed, as many homes of the Bloomsbury group mixed classic family heirlooms with bright fresh colour palettes, so too does this newly renovated hotel blend the Bloomsbury aesthetic with classic and comfortable chic.

themorton2

From the Library to Bedrooms, the hotel is adorned with Omega Workshops prints, Woolf’s book cover designs by Vanessa Bell and collages of black and white Bloomsbury photographs.

the-morton-3

Each bedroom is named after a key Bloomsbury figure – Virginia Woolf, Vanessa Bell, Duncan Grant, E. M. Forster, Roger Fry, Lytton Strachey and, our room, Lady Ottoline Morrell. The doors of the rooms are identified with portrait silhouettes, a motif which is subtly repeated within the room pulling the individual scheme together.

themorton4

Against the neutral colours and simple shapes our wallpaper was the stand out feature. Echoing Duncan Grant’s design Arion Riding a Dolphin for the chest in his bedroom at Charleston House, our wallpaper reinterpreted this myth in soft grey and vibrant orange. A bedside notepad was also printed in the same design.

themorton5

The bed itself was very comfy and extremely spacious and the bathroom had some deliciously botanical bergamot and neroli toiletries by Woods of Windsor. The room had all the tech you might want but it was unobtrusive so that the bedroom remained a calm oasis away from the bustle of Russell Square Tube Station – a minute’s walk from the front door.

themorton6

Finally, breakfast was warm crisp pastries, a selection of cheese and cold meats, juice, fresh fruit and hot tea and coffee in the Library.

Read Full Post »

Wandering around Bloomsbury on my first day in London this June, I happened upon the Morton Hotel.

I wasn’t exactly looking for it. But Ann Martin of the University of Saskatchewan had planted the name in my mind with an offhand comment at this year’s Woolf conference. Upon hearing that I would be alone in the capital city for a few days, she remarked, “You could have tea at the Morton.”

And so I did. I had written about tea at the Morton before — back in 2014 — but I had forgotten the details. Consequently, my afternoon relaxing in the hotel’s Library bar and lounge was full of a series of lovely surprises, all with a Bloomsbury touch.

I chose a seat in front of the fireplace, where I set in for a good read as well as refreshment. I relaxed with a selection of books about Bloomsbury laid out on a sofa table and the Morton’s traditional afternoon tea, which is truly lovely and reasonably priced at £15. It included a tiered dish of tiny crustless sandwiches, pastries and fresh fruit, along with scones served with jam and clotted cream.

All around me — from entry to ladies room — were photo collages of Bloomsbury figures as well as reproductions of art by the Bloomsbury group and Hogarth Press book covers designed by Vanessa Bell.

Next time you’re in London, take tea at the Morton. It’s open 11 a.m. to 10:30 p.m., Monday through Sunday. Meanwhile, take a look at what you’ll find.

image

Entry to the Morton Hotel, 2 Woburn Place, in Russell Square

image

The chandelier in the entryway features Hogarth Press book covers.

image

Once inside the entry, look to your left and “take the lift to the basement.”

image

The cozy sitting area in front of the fireplace, my chosen spot.

image

Books ranging from Bloomsbury Rooms to Bloomsbury Portraits are available for browsing.

image

Traditional afternoon tea: as delicious as it looks.

image

Collages of Bloomsbury photos decorate the walls.

image

This sitting area nestled into a corner featured art by Vanessa Bell.

image

Even the hallway to the ladies room — as well as the ladies itself — was decorated with Bloomsbury art.

Read Full Post »

After an unforgettable time at the Woolf Conference in Leeds, my boyfriend and I treated ourselves to a short stay in London as a reward for ourselves. I successfully presented a paper at the conference (and didn’t pass out from being so star-struck over all of the scholars!), while he had successfully completed chapter two of his Ph.D dissertation.

We tried to pack in as many literary trips as we could, and we couldn’t leave England without making a trip to check out the Dalloway Terrace, named after Clarissa Dalloway herself.

IMG_2964

Menus and a Woolf book outside of the restaurant.

The Dalloway Terrace restaurant is located in The Bloomsbury Hotel which is in a fantastic location in the heart of Bloomsbury. The hotel is a three-minute walk to the British Museum, seven-minute walk to Russell Square, and ten-minute walk to many Woolf sites, such as the lovely statue in Tavistock Square dedicated to the author.

IMG_3011

A view of the terrace.

The dreamy atmosphere is the highlight of this outdoor restaurant. Marble topped tables are surrounded by benches which are made comfortable with big pillows. Each chair on the terrace is draped with a wool blanket in anticipation of the ever changing English weather. Candles flicker on tables which are separated by big pots of lush, green plants. It is absolutely lovely.

The servers were kind, helpful and highly attentive, and the food was delicious. The restaurant offers several different menus, including breakfast, brunch, lunch, afternoon tea, and dinner menus, along with a tempting cocktail menu. The afternoon tea at the Dalloway has been getting rave reviews, and many Londoners suggest making a trip to the Bloomsbury Hotel specifically to enjoy the tea service.

IMG_2828

Cake and cream at the Dalloway.

We ordered a few British specialties, such as fish and chips, and we couldn’t skip the delectable dessert menu, from which we ordered a few ice creams and cakes. Everything was presented very elegantly, and every bite was full of flavor. We decided that the old cliche about British food being bland is highly incorrect and dated!

After a few Bloomsbury-themed afternoon cocktails, we started to feel that Clarissa herself might enjoy this restaurant; one could almost see her among the twinkling lights, charming friends between the spatter of rain drops on the clear dividers—planning her next party perhaps.

afternoon-tea-on-dalloway

Afternoon tea on the terrace (image from TripAdvisor.com).

IMG_3001

The dissertation felt worlds away while at the Dalloway!

The meal was delightfully regenerating and the terrace was a perfect place to take a break from enjoying one of the most exciting and literary cities in the world. One could easily spend a few hours on the terrace, sipping cocktails, enjoying small cakes, and discussing the importance of Modernist literature. We did this several times during our trip!

My partner and I enjoyed the Dalloway Terrace so much that we dined there multiple times while in London–and we are already dreaming of our next meal at the this beautiful and delicious restaurant. Enjoying yummy food in such a dreamy environment was a highlight of our trip. We highly recommend making a trip to visit this lovely retreat in the heart of London.

IMG_3004

A happy Yankee on a London terrace.

We did not make reservations for our dining experiences, but the restaurant highly recommends reservations, especially on the weekends.

The Dalloway Terrace accepts reservations for individual dining, group dining, and private events.

If you are in London you can find the Dalloway Terrace inside of the Bloomsbury Hotel located at 16-22 Great Russell Street, London, WC1B 3NN, or phone the restaurant at +44 (0) 207 347 1221.

You can find information about booking a room at The Bloomsbury Hotel here.

Read Full Post »

This 18-minute video produced by the British Library for its twentieth-century literature site and featuring Elaine Showalter is an excellent introduction to Mrs. Dalloway for first-time readers. But it will also enlighten those who have read the novel over and over again.

In it, the American critic and writer takes us to London for a discussion of Virginia Woolf’s 1925 novel. We view 1920s London streets and traffic; take a look inside 46 Gordon Square, Woolf’s first home as an independent woman; and get a look at the novel’s original hand-written manuscript.

In addition, Showalter explains the artistic, social and historical context for the groundbreaking novel that takes place on one day in June in 1923. You can also read her article on the topic, “Exploring consciousness and the modern: an introduction to Mrs Dalloway,” on the British Library website. At that link, you can view 165 images of Woolf’s notebooks for the novel and for her essays published in The Common Reader (1925).

Read Full Post »

I’m guessing that many Virginia Woolf common readers and scholars will be traveling to London Sign PostLondon this year and next, since the 2016 and 2017 Annual International Conferences on Virginia Woolf will be held in England — this year in Leeds and next year in Reading.

No doubt they’ll be looking for Woolf’s London, including all of the places she lived and the streets Clarissa Dalloway walked.

So now is a good time to share a few fun resources that will help visitors eat, sleep and shop as Virginia Woolf and the Bloomsbury Group did.

For more tips on traveling in the steps of Virginia Woolf, visit In Her Steps. This page includes travel tips for London and beyond. It also includes links to Woolf tours, both audio and in-person.

Read Full Post »

The Charlotte Street Hotel in the Bloomsbury district of London evokes the Bloomsbury Group with its art, its feel and its look, according to this video in which Kit Kemp explains the concept behind the drawing room.

The video begins with a Virginia Woolf quote from “Street Haunting,” goes on to explain the importance of the Bloomsbury Group, and mentions the art — of the Bloomsbury and artists of today — that is displayed on the walls. Of particular note is the Roger Fry painting that takes pride of place in the hotel library.

Special thanks to Helen Harrison of Chicago for sending Blogging Woolf the link to this information.

 

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »

%d bloggers like this: