Snapshots of Bloomsbury: The Private Lives of Virginia Woolf and Vanessa Bell
by Maggie Humm
In this enthralling portrait, Maggie Humm makes available, for the first time, a wealth of barely known photographs, both amateur and professional, ... Show synopsis In this enthralling portrait, Maggie Humm makes available, for the first time, a wealth of barely known photographs, both amateur and professional, that cast new light on the private lives of Virginia Woolf and Vanessa Bell, as well as the historical, cultural, and artistic milieux of their circle in Bloomsbury and beyond. We visit the domestic lives of major nineteenth- and twentieth-century writers and artists, such as E. M. Forster, who is pictured happily pruning trees with Leonard Woolf, T. S. Eliot, and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. There are intimate portraits of Vanessa Bell's children and erotic photos of Duncan Grant's lovers. The parade of characters portrayed in the photographs is long and full, including Vita Sackville-West, Roger Fry, David Garnett, Lady Ottoline Morrell, Walter Sickert, Clive Bell, the Stracheys, Dora Carrington, Cyril Connolly, John Maynard Keynes, and many more. The domestic photographs, taken predominantly with the enormously popular vest-pocket Kodak cameras of the time, are complemented by the professional photographs of Man Ray and Gisele Freund. Meticulously researched and painstakingly organized, this unique book brings critical insight to the remarkable photographs preserved in the archives of Tate and the Harvard Theatre collection. In doing so, it places domestic photography at the forefront of cultural studies of modernism, bringing vividly before us the real lives of the individuals at the heart of the Bloomsbury circle.