Olivier Bell was buried today on the edge of the churchyard in St. Peter’s, Firle, where she had always planned to go, not believing in an afterlife. I learned, which I had not known when I wrote her obituary, that in the early part of the war, she acted as research assistant to Ludwig Burchard who had arrived in London in 1935 and announced the publication of a 6-volume Rubens catalogue in 1939 which became the Corpus Rubeniarum, now based in Antwerp and ever expanding in the scale of its published volumes. He was interned in the Isle of Man and she just carried on, living in Dover with Graham Bell. It was possibly this experience which gave her the intellectual precision, more than her unhappy childhood and education at the Courtauld Institute, which she later applied to her edition of Virginia Woolf’s Diary.
This is a picture of her in 1940:-
And when I knew her with Quentin Bell:-