Made By Mrs M

Vanessa Bell

Art, Exhibition, Inspiration, London, Review, Shopping, TextilesKate Marsden

I hadn't been to Dulwich for a while - I used to have friends who lived nearby, and I did Dulwich Open House a couple of years ago, but hadn't had a chance for a stroll for an age. So I chose a beautiful sunny spring day to visit Dulwich Village, which is impossibly pretty at the worst of times, suffered from some major house envy, and then visited the Picture Gallery for the first time.

What really dragged me to Dulwich was Vanessa Bell. If you've been reading this blog for a while, you'll probably know that I'm a bit of a fan of her sister (Virginia Woolf) and I was massively into the Bloomsbury Group as a teenager. I've always admired the style of Vanessa's work, and almost feel as though I know some of the subjects, as I spent so long reading about them, so I really couldn't miss this one.

I first saw Vanessa's work at an exhibition at the Barbican when I was at art college (probably 1995 or 96) but haven't ever come accross anything on this scale before. The exhibition covers her paintings as well as her designs for textiles, ceramics and photographs - so it was quite a feast for the eyes.

Vanessa Bell – Studland Beach 1912 – © Estate of Vanessa Bell, courtesy Henrietta Garnett, acquired 1976 Tate Collection, on loan to Dulwich Picture Gallery

Vanessa Bell – Studland Beach 1912 – © Estate of Vanessa Bell, courtesy Henrietta Garnett, acquired 1976 Tate Collection, on loan to Dulwich Picture Gallery

Vanessa Bell – Mrs St John Hutchinson 1915 - © Estate of Vanessa Bell, courtesy Henrietta Garnett, acquired 1973 Tate Collection, on loan to Dulwich Picture Gallery

Vanessa Bell – Mrs St John Hutchinson 1915 - © Estate of Vanessa Bell, courtesy Henrietta Garnett, acquired 1973 Tate Collection, on loan to Dulwich Picture Gallery

The exhibition was larger than I'd expected (with around 100 paintings) but was still over too soon (I think I would've moved in given the opportunity). I'm not normally one to rave about exhibition shops, but this one's an absolute joy - I had to really restrain myself as I could've bought everything!

I settled for some postcards, this beautiful little fold out book by Alice Pattullo and a cushion cover (couldnt resist a bit of Vanessa Bell for my living room!).

Pamela Print Cushion Cover - Image (c) Dulwich Picture Gallery

Pamela Print Cushion Cover - Image (c) Dulwich Picture Gallery

So, in conculsion the exhibition was wonderful and inspiring, if potentially expensive!!

Vanessa Bell: 1879-1961 is at the Dulwich Picture Gallery until 4 June 2017.