Monday 17 August 2009


I did enjoy all your thoughts about Ishiguro, thank you for sharing them - nice to see a wide sprectrum of opinion, too. It would be very dull (and there would have been no point in the book group meeting) if we all agreed!

A much briefer post today, about a book I've only flicked through, but which looks rather wonderful. I bought it at the National Portrait Gallery a while ago, it's called, as you can see above, Insights: The Bloomsbury Group by Frances Spalding.

Basically, it's the Bloomsbury Group in paintings, with biographical details, especially those relating to artistry. Not to be confused with The Bloomsbury Group reprints by Bloomsbury, this is Virginia Woolf et al. In fact, this resource is so wonderful that I'm going to list the 'et al.' - Desmond MacCarthy; Leonard Woolf; Vanessa and Clive Bell; Duncan Grant; Roger Fry; Lytton Strachy; Dora Carrington; Lady Ottoline Morrell; John Maynard Keynes; E.M. Forster; Frances Partridge; Gerald Brenan; David Garnett; Philippa and Marjorie Strachey; Margery Fry; Bertrand Russell.

For each there are two or three pages - one being a painting, then the others a mixture of paintings/photographs and biographical detail. As a biography of the Bloomsbury Group it is not exhaustive, but it is certainly unique as a resource. And something really interesting, beautiful, and quick to browse through - giving a real feel for the group and their interaction with art.

A great 'coffee table book', or gift - which is said a lot, especially around Christmas, but I do think this is a brilliant little book for anyone interested in these people or the period. Fear not, you don't have to go to the National Portrait Gallery to pick up a copy - it's available here on and, not to mention The Book Depository, which is cheapest of the lot.


  1. Bloomsbury, this looks like a beautiful book. I did a post on them a few weeks ago. Here is the link if you are interested-
    I must get this book- a favourite I read with good insights into the cast was the book by Quentin Bell. la.

  2. Sounds marvellous. A photograph or a painting can capture the spirit of someone so much more than just a chronology of their life and works, and I like the idea of a book that merges the two to good effect. I'm going to put this on my Christmas list!

  3. This books looks ... insightful! I am hoping to make it to the National Portrait Gallery before the Fabiola exhibition ends and must have a flick through the book.

    Oh, and whilst I'm here, this can serve as your requested reminder for the commencement of Persephone Reading Week on Monday coming! I'm hoping to read some of their -and my favourite- Bloomsbury authors.

  4. Dear Stuck in a Book
    I love your site! I liked the review on Mrs Darcy's Dilemma and must read. I was thinking of starting a site like this but you are 23 and have already read so much - amazing! Not sure I could match your standards and readability. And I'd want some money back from my efforts which you don't seem to do. Congratulations on a lovely site.

  5. Claire, thanks for the reminder! I've gone through my list of unread Persephones on my shelves (28 of them!) and chosen 6....

    Jane, thank you for your lovely comment. I do encourage you to have a go at blogging if you want to, but yes, not much in the way of monetary returns - but potentially lots of free books, so it's basically cutting out the middle man(!)

    Thanks for the link Little Augury

    Rachel - hope someone pays attention and buys you this book!

  6. I can never get enough about the Bloomsbury folks, and this looks wonderful.

    On a shallower note, I love the clothes of Bloomsbury. :<)


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