Vanessa Bell Special Interest Day a great success

Vanessa Bell Special Interest Day a great success

8 May 2023

On 26th April we held a very successful Special Interest Day on Vanessa Bell and her tangled Bloomsbury Group relationships.

We were treated to a highly entertaining and involved lecture by the enthusiastic and
knowledgeable speaker Ray Warburton. He lead us through the world of this Bloomsbury
group that was chiefly created by two siblings Vanessa Bell and Thoby Stephens in 1905.
Most of the members had attended Cambridge University. There were 12 core members
with notable members such as Vanessa’s sister, Virginia Woolf, & Roger Fry. They all
thought deeply about life, art and society, but mainly about themselves and their

Ray took us through the world influences of the time and the need for the group to leave
London and to establish homes in Kent and Sussex. Ray noted that our group will be
visiting Sissinghurst Castle in September, which was home to group affiliate, Vita Sackville-West.

Ray’s lecture covered the painters and writers of the group. Vanessa and Duncan Grant
absorbed the ideas and practices of the modern era artists such as Mezzanine, Picasso
and Matisse. The novels of Virgina Woolf and Lytton Strachey were highlighted.
One interesting aspect of the development of the group was in 1913 when Vanessa,
Duncan Grant and Roger Fry established the Omega Workshop which operated as a kind
of latter-day arts and crafts movement producing products for the public to purchase.
This provided a blueprint of sorts for the Bauhaus in Germany.
The three lectures started in the late 1870s and finished in 1960 which helped our
understanding of the group as a whole.

We thank Ray of a very thoughtful day with lots of memories, and we would like to thank the Assembly House for a very enjoyable day. The lunch was excellent and the setting wonderful.

About the Author

Annabel Hoseason


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