13 Jan

On my bedside table there are mostly spiritual books, save one or two that I just enjoy looking through from time to time. One of those books is Bloomsbury at Home by Pamela Todd. It is a table book, mainly about the goings-on at Leonard and Virginia Woolf’s Monk’s House (East Sussex, England); and Clive and Vanessa Bell, and Duncan Grant‘s Charleston Farmhouse, also in East Sussex. These two homes were the hub of the so-called unorthodox friends, artists, intellectuals and writers, who would gather there to hone their artistic skills.


Charleston Farmhouse


Monk’s house

“Comfort didn’t rank high in Bloomsbury houses (though beauty did), but there would be good French cooking, and wine at most meals, homemade bread and jams (Virginia was good at making both). In winter you might suffer seriously from the cold, and the bathroom pipes might be clad in old newspapers, but you would find a superb library, as good talks as I’ve heard anywhere and a great deal of laughter.” Francis Catherine Partridge (1900-2004), Memories. (Last surviving member of the Bloomsbury group).


This book is filled with a plethora of wonderful paintings by Virginia’s sister, Vanessa Bell and her lover, Duncan Grant. As you see from the photos I’ve posted below, Duncan Grant and Vanessa Bell * also embellished their Charleston Farmhouse home by painting on walls, fireplaces, and doors. The book also contains photographs, writings and tidbits about most of the Bloomsbury Circle of friends and explores their lives, their homes, and The Hogarth Press, the means by which most of their work was published.




 “You have overheard scraps of talk that have filled you with amazement. You have gone to bed at night bewildered by the complexities of your feelings. In one day thousands of thoughts have coursed through your brains; thousands of emotions have met, collided and disappeared in astonishing disorder.”

Virginia Woolf

Vanessa was married to Clive but it was “Duncan, whom she loved more than any other man in her life…….” the three of them lived in the Charleston Farmhouse home until their deaths. Virginia and Leonard remained at Monk’s House until their deaths.

A must-have book for the literati, in literature as well as in the arts.



1882-1941 Virginia Woolf
1879-1961 Vanessa Bell
1881-1964 Clive Bell
1880-1969 Leonard Woolf
1885-1978 Duncan Grant










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