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Charleston: A Bloomsbury House and Gardens
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22 of 22 people found the following review helpful
on 25 October 2009
Beautiful pictures in this room-by-room tour of Charleston Farmhouse; brought back memories of a very happy visit some years ago and made me want to go back. When Vanessa Bell moved there in 1916, with Duncan Grant and his friend David Garnett - a complicated menage that seems to have worked very happily - they worked a transformation with paint. The result ... one of England's most delightful interiors, sheer exuberance of colour and design used with absolute fearlessness. (And what an inspiration ... what can be done with a can of Dulux if you throw caution to the winds!)
This memoir of the house is written by Quentin Bell and Virginia Nicholson, Vanessa's younger son and grand-daughter. Quentin was 85 when he began writing the first draft but as his health failed, his daughter sat by his bed recording his memories. The book is imbued with their love for the house (as well as being a daughter's affectionate memoir of her father). Quentin's memories, in particular, convey what a magical place it was to live in. Happily, without any of that Bloomsbury Set adulation that so often gets up my nose ... to him, they were real people, Vanessa a loving mother, Clive Bell emerging from his bathroom 'pink as a peach', Maynard Keynes sweeping in with the Evening Standard and the fascination of his involvement with high politics and the Treaty of Versailles, his ballerina wife who could bore for Russia.
What a shame that the house is now a shrine for visitors, when it was once so full of life - a place to be enjoyed, not revered.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on 24 February 2011
After reading Virginia Nicholson's book Among the Bohemians: Experiments in Living 1900-1939, I ordered this earlier work about Charleston, the country house in Sussex where Duncan Grant and Vanessa Bell lived, and many other members of the Bloomsbury visited. The numerous large photos in this volume, showing all the rooms and the well-preserved decorations applied by Grant and Bell to just about every surface, add powerful visualisation to the prose and b/w images of the Bohemians book. The texts, started by Nicholson's father, Quentin Bell and then completed by her, gives a more personal perspective of Bloomsbury life than the other book. A perfect companion for all who enjoyed Among the Bohemians.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on 20 April 2010
For all Charleston lovers, this book is a must. Inspirational with truly gorgeous photographs and interesting historical content.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 14 July 2012
An excellent book, full of interesting text, and packed with first-class colour plates. This book completely captures the magic of the Bloomsbury group of artists. A book, which I can strongly recommend.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on 9 March 2010
Great book in terms of imagery, and some nice information and anecdotes about those connected with the bloomsbury group. More of a 'nice' coffee table book though, than anything heavyweight. For me though, seeing this fluid and expressive decorating scheme has encouraged me to see my own home in terms of an ever changing artistic environment.
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I originally bought this book at 'Charleston' when I visited first time 8 years ago.......bought this second copy, as original is so well thumbed, that I decided to get another while still available. It is an excellent insight into daily life at 'Bloomsbury in Sussex', with wonderful photographs and details of every room and its past occupants. A truly delightful book (one of my most favourites), and at this price not to be missed. A definate must for all devotees of this remarkably talented circle of artists and innovators.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 8 July 2013
went to visit Charleston and wanted to know more about the house and it's amazingly interesting occupants - a great book with lovely photos.
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on 6 June 2013
A recent visit to Charleston in Lewes after a 17 year gap left me completely in awe of the Bloomsbury group. This book is well illustrated and informative and a must if you are interested in Sackville West, Bell, Lytton Strachey, Woolf or any of the other members of this alternative bohemian set. I have also bought the an embroidery/tapestry book via Abebooks so that I can recreate some of the incredible and still contemporary looking textiles.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 7 October 2013
I bought this for a friend's birthday after a visit to Charleston. It is a gorgeous book. Now I want one for myself!
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on 12 April 2013
I have visited Charleston Farmhouse a number of times. You either love it or dislike it. I love it and this book is fabulous. The photographs cover nearly everything in the house and garden. This is a real quality book, well worth the low price considering the amount of brilliant photography. Reading it brought many happy memories.
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