BLOOMSBURY PORTRAITS: Vanessa Bell, Duncan Grant, and Their Circle by Richard Shone

BLOOMSBURY PORTRAITS: Vanessa Bell, Duncan Grant, and Their Circle

Email this review


Recognizing the ""insatiable. . . present appetite for anything touching"" on Bloomsbury, Richard Shone has written about the ""events and friendships which have as yet gone unrecorded,"" and these concern the Bloomsbury painters, Duncan Grant and Vanessa Bell, Virginia Woolf's sister. Shone believes that these two, who lived together despite Vanessa's marriage to Clive Bell, merit attention in their own right because they made ""adventurous"" and ""pioneering"" contributions to painting and the decorative arts. He concentrates on the years 1910-1920, when the aesthetics of modernism began to influence English artists through the Post-Impressionist exhibitions, organized by Roger Fry, and the Omega workshops, where Fry, Grant, Bell, and others designed modernist furniture, textiles, and household implements. Although it is good to have this side of Bloomsbury presented with abundant illustrations, Shone's book is seriously unbalanced: biographical minutiae obscure significant facts, like the collapse of the Bells' marriage, and the accomplishments of Grant, Bell, and their immediate circle are described and praised without being adequately related to the wider culture of modernism--Wyndham Lewis, for example, merely passes through. The result is a confusing work that asserts rather than demonstrates the importance of its subject.

Pub Date: Oct. 15th, 1976
ISBN: 0714829617
Publisher: Phaidon/Dutton