In this enthralling portrait Maggie Humm makes available for the first time a wealth of barely known photographs, both amaeur 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 engaged in the task of pruning trees with Leonard Woolf. We see T.S Eliot and his wife Vivienne, and Thoby Stephen ‘Kodaking’ Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. There are intimate portraits of Vanessa Bell’s children and erotic photos of Duncan Grant’ lovers. Also included are many photographs of a happy and contented Virginia Woolf, which provide an often neglected balance to traditional perceptions of her as neurotic and eccentric.
The parade of characters 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 Maynad Keynes and many more. The domestic photographs, taken predominantly with the enormously popular vest-pocket Kodak cameras of the time, are complemented by professional photographs by Man Ray and Gisele Freund.