Virginia Woolf: Art, Life and Vision

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National Portrait Gallery Publications, 2014 - Biography & Autobiography - 191 pages
Virginia Woolf's many novels--notably Night and Day (1919), Jacob's Room (1922), Mrs Dalloway (1925), To the Lighthouse (1927) and The Waves (1931)--transformed ideas about structure, plot and characterization. Sister of Vanessa Bell, Woolf was a central figure in the Bloomsbury Group, that union of friends who revolutionized British culture with their innovative approach to art, design and society in the early years of the twentieth century. Portraiture figured greatly in Woolf's life: portraits by G.F. Watts and photographs made by her aunt, Julia Margaret Cameron, furnished rooms in which she lived; written portraits were produced in the family home; and her father, Leslie Stephen, published short biographies of Samuel Johnson, Pope, Swift, George Eliot and Thomas Hobbes, while editing the first 26 volumes of the Dictionary of National Biography. Throughout her life, Woolf, a sharp observer and a brilliant wordsmith, composed memorable vignettes-in-words of people she knew or encountered, and was herself portrayed by artists and photographers on many occasions. This beautifully illustrated book looks at Woolf's appearance and that of the world around her, pointing to her desire to understand better the moment in which she lived. In charting the emotional milestones in Woolf's life--her love affairs, wartime experiences and the depression that resulted in her suicide in 1941--acclaimed art historian, critic and biographer Frances Spalding acknowledges the seen and unseen aspects of her subject. Virginia Woolf: Art, Life and Vision includes 90 beautifully reproduced key works from public and private collections, documentary photographs, extracts from Woolf's writings and a chronology of her life and work.

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About the author (2014)

Frances Spalding is an art historian, critic and biographer, and a leading authority on Bloomsbury. She wrote an introduction to the subject, The Bloomsbury Group (2005), for the National Portrait Gallery's 'Insights' series, and has written biographies of Roger Fry, Vanessa Bell and Duncan Grant. For ten years she edited the Charleston Magazine. Her recent books include John Piper, Myfanwy Piper: Lives in Art (2009) and Prunella Clough: Regions Unmapped. She is an Honorary Fellow of the Royal College of Art and is Professor of Art History at Newcastle University.

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