Sunday, March 5, 2017

Vanessa Stephen Bell

George C. Beresford
Vanessa Stephen Bell was painter, muralist, mother and a founding member of the the Bloomsbury Group, a group that interests me to no end. Vanessa played an important role is the life of this avant-garde and unconventional circle of artists, writers, friends and lovers.  I am featuring her today because her fame may be overshadowed by the fame of her sister, Virginia Woolf, however Vanessa is just as deserving to fame and acclaim.  And though there is so much to celebrate about Vanessa,  this post I will focus on her contribution and involvement in Bloomsbury.

Bloomsbury started in 1905 at the London home of Vanessa,  where  riends and colleagues of her brothers would descend upon the household for drinks and to banter about ideas, philosophies and other cerebral challenges. At that time in England, intellectual pursuits were considered to be of a man's world but Vanessa and her sister, Virginia, joined her brothers and their friends and held their own in discussions and debates. These evening meetings turned into a group of writers, poets, intellectuals and artists who critiqued each other's work as well as supported each other's ideas and creative endeavors.

Besides providing the house where Bloomsbury began, Vanessa Stephen Bell, along with her lover Duncan Bell owned Charleston Farmhouse, which is now known as the home of Bloomsbury.
A wonderful story about Vanessa and her life.

Vanessa Bell with her daughter Angelica 

Vanessa Bell, 'Duncan Grant in interior' 

One of the aspects of Bloomsbury that intrigues me so is how they decorated and painted their surroundings.  You can see this decor in their paintings, in the pictures of Charleston Farmhouse (see below) and the creation of Roger Fry's Omega workshop.  These artists and writers wanted to live their art and paint and create their lives.  I would love to live this way.  I confess that there are many a moment that I yearn to take pencil and or paint brush to my walls and surroundings.

As I noted above, I am a ferocious student of Bloomsbury and read what I can about these unconventional creatives.  If you are interested I found Priya Parmar's Vanessa and her Sister a highly enlightening and enjoyable read.

And for more about Vanessa and her circle, follow the links below.
(article from
Charleston Farmhouse

Charleston Farmhouse

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