Vanessa Bell

We went to hear Vanessa Redgrave read a selection of letters by Vanessa Bell to mark her move from London to Charleston a hundred years ago.   The letters to Roger Fry, her sister Virginia and her lover Duncan Grant conveyed the pleasures and privations of their early years at Charleston in the closing years of the First World War, the birth of her daughter Angelica by Duncan Grant, the eating of grouse by T.S. Eliot and her reading of The Waves, the tragedy of the death of her oldest son Julian in the Spanish Civil War and the marriage of her daughter Angelica to Bunny Garnett, her father’s former lover.   Charleston was both creative and incestuous.   Redgrave’s reading conveyed the anguish of what happened there.

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4 thoughts on “Vanessa Bell

  1. Yes, there was plenty of anguish but there was also great joy in what was a very productive house : Maynard Keynes (who wrote his Treatise on Probability there), E.M.Forster and T.S.Eliot were frequent visitors, as were Walter Sickert, Henry Lamb and Matthew Smith.

    As Vanessa Bell wrote to Roger Fry about Charleston, early on : ” I wish you would come and see it all. It would be such fun to show it to you.”

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