Customer Review

19 of 19 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The most charming house in England, 25 Oct 2009
This review is from: Charleston: A Bloomsbury House and Gardens (Paperback)
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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Showing 1-2 of 2 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 21 Sep 2011 01:10:12 BDT
friend? Garnett was Grant's then-lover

In reply to an earlier post on 3 Aug 2012 17:05:33 BDT
Peasant says:
So? He was his friend too . . .
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