Currently on at the National Portrait Gallery in London is an exhibition paying tribute to the life and work of one of the most celebrated writers (and modernists and feminists) of the 20th century, Virginia Woolf. The comprehensive collection of portraits and rare archival material seeks “to explore [Woolf’s] life and achievements as a novelist, intellectual, campaigner, and public figure,” according to the gallery.
Curated by writer and art historian Frances Spalding, highlights of the exhibition are the idiosyncratic portraits of Woolf by her Bloomsbury Group (an influential group of English writers, intellectuals, philosophers, and artists who worked together in or around Bloomsbury, London in the first half of the 20th century) contemporaries Vanessa Bell (who was also Woolf’s sister) and Roger Fry, as well as photographs by George Charles Beresford and Man Ray. Also of interest are intimate images of Woolf in her downtime. Her early life and of course her literary achievements (this is the woman who gave us To the Lighthouse and Orlando) also get a look-in. Rounding off the exhibition are some of Woolf’s personal belongings such as letters, diaries, and books which explore the lesser-known aspects of her life in London and her political views. If you are in London anytime before the end of October, don’t miss it.
The exhibition runs from July 10 to October 26, 2014.
Title image: Vanessa Bells’ portrait of Virginia Woolf, c. 1912, Monks House, Rodmell, The Virginia and Leonard Woolf Collection © Estate of Vanessa Bell, courtesy of Henrietta Grant, photo: National Trust / Charles Thomas