“Virginia and Vanessa, despite t heir occasional differences, had an unbreakable bond of love and support. Hermione Lee expounds at length about their dysfunctional childhood which undoubtedly acted as an indissolvable glue in their relationship. But as for the rest of the Bloomsbury Group, blood – and marriage bonds – were definitely not thicker than water, especially when it came to relationships. In their quest for artistic freedom, everything was fair game. Just take a look at Vanessa Bell’s open affair with Duncan Grant amid a group household that included her husband, Clive Bell. Or David “Bunny” Garnett’s May-December marriage to Angelica Grant, his former lover’s (Duncan Grant) daughter. The web was tangled indeed.”
Virginia Woolf and her world. And what a world it was. In the early years of the twentieth century Bloomsbury was bright promise, gaiety and wit. But all the while its most celebrated novelist was battling private demons that would one day overwhelm her.The group started as a circle of intellectuals who had studied at Trinity and King’s Colleges, Cambridge, and began meeting at a salon in a house near Bloomsbury Square, central London. Their friendships were to last a lifetime despite the complicated tangle of love affairs between them.Today the Bohemian group of writers, artists and intellectuals are remembered as much for the complicated romantic entanglements that led to them being described as ‘artistic lions’ who ‘lived in squares and loved in triangles’.
Leslie Stephen’s death had given his children freedom. They moved to Bloomsbury and brother Thoby began to invite his Cambridge friends, most of whom had now left the university; and it was here that, as an alternative to Victorianism, the Bloomsbury group first came into existence; a small island of bohemian thought and action in London and the aesthetic was social and personal freedom, though the deed, at that point, was very much one of words.
"There are few professions that can boast such an eternal reputation of style and grace as that of prima ballerina. Fewer ballerinas, still, that have the sartorial credentials of Miss Lydia Lopokova, a famous Russian ballet dancer of the early 20th century. The slight dancer, known for her effervescent intelligence, pirouetted her pretty little feet across the great theatres of the world landing, ballet shoes perfectly poised, in the heart of the Bloomsbury Group where she won the heart of 'formerly gay' economist John Keynes."
The atmosphere in these two Bloomsbury salons reflected the differing personalities of the two sisters. The Bells, Lytton Strachey wrote to Duncan Grant, “are a wild sprightly couple. The drawing-room has no carpet or wall-paper, curtains some blue and some white, a Louis XV bed, two basket chairs, a pianola, and an early Victorian mahogany table!” Clive Bell’s hospitality was warm and jovial, reminding his guests of the hunting and shooting set in which he had been brought up, and contrasting oddly with the pictures by Picasso and Vlaminck that hung on the walls. “When the door was opened,” wrote David Garnett, “a warm stream of Clive’s hospitality and love of the good things of life poured out, as ravishing as the smell of roasting coffee on a cold morning.”
"The artist, Vanessa Bell, is considered to be one of the major contributors to British portrait drawing and landscape art in the 2Oth Century. She was a member of the Bloomsbury Group, along with her sister, Virginia Woolf, and also a part of the Omega Workshops established by Roger Fry in 1913. The Omega Workshops produced painted accessories for the home, such as lamps and furniture, in addition to decorating walls and textiles. Her home, the Charleston Farmhouse in Sussex, is an inspirational example of her work and the other members of the workshop