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Archive for the ‘Charleston Farmhouse’ Category

Virginia Woolf was an expert at making New Year’s resolutions. Alice Lowe reported on her resolutions of 1931 and 1936 in a post on Dec. 27, 2010. Since then, one particular resolution has been popular on Twitter and Facebook. Here it is from the Charleston Trust. Her resolution stands up well 90 years later.

 

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Charleston

Lovers of Charleston, rejoice! If you’ve always longed to attend a Charleston Festival in May in East Sussex, you can now attend online — for free. And if you’d like to add some paper touches of Charleston to your home office, you can do so now, while helping the financially challenged Charleston at the same time.

Celebrating and helping from home

The Charleston Festival, the main fundraising event for the longtime home of Vanessa Bell and Duncan Grant and the country refuge for the Bloomsbury group, is staying home, like many of us around the globe as we weather the current coronavirus pandemic.

And now that the event is available online for free, billed as the Charleston Festival at Home, more of us from around the world will be able to attend from home — and hopefully be inspired to help Charleston while beautifying our homes as well.

Cambridge Imprint has already stepped forward to contribute one-third of all profits from online sales of its Charleston range of unique paper goods to Charleston’s Emergency Appeal for the next three months, starting May 12.

The Charleston Festival at Home

Charleston’s flint and brick garden wall with a row of casts of antique heads, many of which have been replaced over the years.

The Charleston Festival at Home is a series of 10 free events bringing artists, writers, thinkers and agents of change together online to explore art, literature and society, just as the Bloomsbury group did around the Charleston dining room table 100 years ago, according to the website.

The online program runs May 15-25 and features nearly daily events that include:

  • BRICKS & MORTAR: On May 17, Hannah Rothschild and Julian Fellowes discuss historical fiction, family, and the wonderful inspiration that buildings can provide. The talk premieres at 2 p.m. BST.
  • IN PURSUIT OF JUSTICE: On May 19, Philippe Sands discusses ‘the ratlines’ — a system of escape routes for fascists fleeing Europe in the aftermath of World War II.
  • SEX, LIES & WOOLF: On May 22, Leïla Slimani speaks about her novels, beliefs, and her new collection of essays giving voice to young Moroccan women.
  • SALMAN RUSHDIE IN CONVERSATION: On May 23, Salman Rushdie returns to Charleston Festival to discuss his life and work.
  • ORDINARY LIVES & DEVASTATING TRUTHS: On May 24, Tayari Jones will explore the art of writing tangled relationships and the perils of young womanhood.

All events will be available on Charleston’s YouTube channel. Check the schedule for details or download the program. Follow the hashtag #CharlestonFestivalatHome.

About Charleston’s need

Charleston, the treasure trove of Bloomsbury art and culture, along with its garden, galleries, shop and café, are temporarily closed due to the coronavirus pandemic. That means the charity that receives no public funding is bereft of income from visitor admissions, as well as its main fundraising event. The Charleston Festival, one of the oldest and most prestigious interdisciplinary festivals in the world, was cancelled in April due to the coronavirus.

As a result, Charleston has issued an emergency appeal for donations from those who appreciate this unique venue, no matter what side of the pond they live on.

You can find out more, including how to make a donation — whether you are a UK citizen or not — here.

 

 

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Charleston, a treasure trove of Bloomsbury art and culture, is in dire need. Can you help?

Charleston

The longtime home of Vanessa Bell and Duncan Grant and the country refuge for the Bloomsbury group, along with its garden, galleries, shop and café, are temporarily closed due to the coronavirus pandemic.

That means the charity that receives no public funding is bereft of income from visitor admissions, as well as its main fundraising event. The Charleston Festival, scheduled for May, is cancelled.

As a result, Charleston has issued an emergency appeal for donations from those who appreciate this unique venue, no matter what side of the pond they live on.

You can find out more, including how to make a donation — whether you are a UK citizen or not — here.

Charleston as seen from the farm track to the home. The gravel, the lawn, bushes, and the facade of the house are the same as in the time of Vanessa Bell and Duncan Grant.

The Charleston garden

The Famous Women Dinner Service painted by Vanessa Bell and Duncan Grant between 1932 and 1934 has been on display in the Outer Studio at Charleston.

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Charleston

Henrietta Garnett, daughter of Angelica and David Garnett and granddaughter of Vanessa Bell, died Sept. 4 of pancreatic cancer.

She grew up at Charleston, and of it she said:

 

Charleston had the most powerful identity of any place that I had known. It reeked of itself: of turpentine and toast, of apples, damp walls and garden flowers. The atmosphere was one of liberty and order, and of a strength which came from its being a house in which the inhabitants were happy…

Read a tribute to her posted by her cousin, Virginia Nicholson, president of the Charleston Trust, and her obituary in The Guardian.

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Fifty ceramic plates decorated with images of famous women through the ages, from Sappho to Greta Garbo to Virginia Woolf. That describes the Famous Women Dinner Service painted by Vanessa Bell and Duncan Grant between 1932 and 1934 that is now on display in the Outer Studio at Charleston.

The series includes 12 dancers and actresses, 12 writers, 12 beauties, and 12 queens, each painted on plain white Wedgwood, in addition to a set of period women and two portraits of the artists themselves. The women are surrounded by bold patterned borders, with Duncan as the only man in the series.

History of the dinner service

Bell and Grant painted the dinner service for Kenneth Clark, the art historian and director of the National Gallery, and his wife Jane. As a friend and patron to Bloomsbury artists, he owned a large collection of their work. The dinner service the Clarks commissioned was made up of 140 pieces and was one of the largest commissioned works produced by the Bloomsbury artists.

Charleston

The service remained a part of the Clark household until a 1956 move to Saltwood Castle. Remarkably, it had already survived the Blitz and numerous changes of address before it went missing.

Historians considered the dinner service lost for nearly 40 years. Last year, officials at the Piano Nobile Gallery were shocked when one of its clients admitted to having the entire set, which was quietly returned to the UK.

It is now owned by The Charleston Trust, thanks to the support of Piano Nobile, generous grants from the Heritage Lottery Memorial Fund and Art Fund, and donations from a circle of remarkable women.

The artistic process and feminist philosophy

The dinner service forms an impressive testament to Bell and Grant’s close working partnership at Charleston. They carefully researched each woman they chose, basing most of their paintings on photographs and portraits.

The design, which places women at the center of the conversation, was left to the discretion of Bell and Grant; the two artists did not need final approval from the Clarks.

The exhibit information at Charleston notes that, “The final 48 famous women make an intriguing and unexpected list, one that demonstrates Bloomsbury’s understanding of gender equality” and “anticipates feminist politics.” As Bell noted to Roger Fry in 1932, the project “ought to please the feminists.”

The research

The series features women with “an overlapping strength of character,” according to Hana Leaper, who has completed groundbreaking scholarship on the series. Her scholarly work  has been followed by closer scholarship dedicated to the individual plates.

This research was published in print for the first time last year as From Omega to Charleston: The Art of Vanessa Bell and Duncan Grant 1910-1934 . The book was produced in partnership with the Paul MellonCentre for Studies in British Art.

Four years earlier, in 2014, curatorial interns at Charleston discovered preliminary sketches for the plates and posted the findings of their research on the Charleston Attic blog. The initial designs were carried out on round scraps of paper and card in pencil and ink.

When the Literature Cambridge course on Virginia Woolf’s Gardens ended last month, I was among the students who took a coach trip to Charleston, where we viewed the entire collection.

Very little is known about women,” wrote Woolf in 1929. “The history of England is the history of the male line, not the female. Of our fathers we know always some fact, some distinction. They were soldiers or they were sailors; they filled that office or they made that law. But of our mothers, our grandmothers, our great-grandmothers, what remains? – Virginia Woolf, “Women and Fiction,” 1929

This figure greets visitors to the Famous Women Dinner Service exhibit on display in the Outer Studio at Charleston.

Overall view of the Famous Women Dinner Service at Charleston

Plates depicting actresses in the Famous Women Dinner Service

Plates depicting writers in the Famous Women Dinner Service. The Vanessa Bell plate is in the second row from the top, far right.

More notable women in the Famous Women Dinner Service

Various famous women from throughout history are depicted in this selection of plates from the Famous Women Dinner Service.

The Virginia Woolf plate in the Famous Women Dinner Service, which was hand-painted by Vanessa Bell and Duncan Grant between 1932-1934.

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