Behind Closed Doors
Stepping into Bloomsbury Rooms
This talk explores the homes of three writers linked to the Bloomsbury Group: Virginia Woolf, Vita Sackville-West and Eddy Sackville-West. The Bloomsbury Group was a set of writers and artists who met in the Bloomsbury area of London, challenging the conventions of their Victorian predecessors in person, and in books like Lytton Strachey’s Eminent Victorians. Linked by a complex web of relationships, Virginia, Vita and Eddy created country retreats which expressed their unusual personalities.
At Monk’s House, Virginia Woolf looked forward to the modern age, favoring the bright colors and bold patterns of her favorite Bloomsbury artists Vanessa Bell and Duncan Grant. At Sissinghurst, Vita Sackville-West looked back to the past and the Elizabethan age, filling her rooms with the romantic relics of former lovers. At Knole, Vita’s first cousin Eddy mixed Sackville heirlooms with the vibrant works of his artist lovers Duncan Grant, Stephen Tomlin and John Banting. Virginia Woolf combined the characters of Vita and Eddy in her novel Orlando—published in 1928 and set at Knole—creating a hero/heroine who changes their sex over time.
Descended from a family at the heart of Bloomsbury, Nino Strachey will offer a personal perspective on the stories revealed in her new book Rooms of Their Own: Eddy Sackville-West, Virginia Woolf and Vita Sackville-West (Pavilion Books, 2018).
This lecture is generously supported by Dr. and Mrs. Daniel Ervin.
Thank you to our co-sponsors Charleston Library Society and FREEMAN’S.