Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Oh, the Bloomsberries

I was introduced to that word by my teacher here. It refers to the people in the Bloomsbury group which includes (but isn't limited to) Virginia and Leonard Woolf, Vanessa and Clive Bell, Lytton Strachey, John Maynard Keynes, E. M. Forster, Duncan Grant, George Rylands, Roger Fry, and that's all I can think of off the top of my head. Since they were all pacifists and the men were C.O.s (conscientious objectors aka they resisted the conscription), the men were required to serve in some other way. So they moved from their homes in London and went to serve on farms in Sussex, to the south and near the ocean. Vanessa Bell and Duncan Grant moved to Charleston, and enjoyed Clive Bell as a visitor sometimes. Let me just say that all the Bloomsberries were either related or lovers. And when I say all... I mean all. Regardless of gender, generation, or marriage status. It's still a bit mind-boggling to me.

Anyway, the Bloomsberries loved art. More particularly post-impressionistic art. Vanessa Bell, Duncan Grant and Roger Fry were the main painters of the group. Every inch of Charleston and Monk's House (where the Woolfs lived) is painted. This includes the tables, fireplaces, walls, lampshades, couches, beds, bookcases, wardrobes, dressers, mirrors, and bathtubs. The result is incredible. As a class, we went to visit these places. Though the interiors were amazing, my favorites were the gardens. Take a look:

These first five are from Charleston:

My expression here is a mixture of me smiling and concentrating on taking a picture. Kind of a funny mix. Charleston house in the background.

I'm a sucker for flowers and rain droplets:

And here's some from the more expansive (and probably expensive) Monk's House gardens:

This is my teacher coming out of Virginia Woolf's writing lodge in the backyard. Perfect.

View with Monk's House in the background:

See, they weren't concerned so much with the organization of their gardens as with the vivid colors - like the artists they were. I don't mind.

We also went to Berwick (said Bear-ick) Church, where Duncan Grant, Vanessa Bell, Angelica Bell and Quentin Bell painted the murals.

Note the modern twist in the bottom left hand corner - the three wise men are members of the army, navy and air force.

Overall, a good field trip.

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