“[Fascinating and wide-ranging. . . . Will be enjoyed by both Bloomsbury aficionados and newcomers alike.”—Lucinda Willan, V&A Magazine
The Bloomsbury Group was one of the most successful and influential interdisciplinary collectives of the twentieth century. While its members resisted definition, their vibrant art and dress imparted a coherent, distinctive group identity. The Bloomsbury Look is an intimate and novel exploration of the ways in which the Group enabled its members to test and explore radical ideas and identities in public and in private, placing Vanessa Bell and Virginia Woolf centre-stage as curators of the collective’s visual narratives.
Drawing on a wealth of unpublished photographs and archival material, Wendy Hitchmough examines the use of the family album as a vehicle for the Group’s self-fashioned aesthetic. Extensive new research charts the evolution of Omega dress and considers Bloomsbury’s engagement with exhibitions as artists, models, curators, critics, and collectors to determine its pivotal role within twentieth-century modernism.
“The Bloomsbury Group—and in particular, the style of Virginia Woolf and her sister Vanessa Bell—has been a constant source of inspiration for artists, fashion designers and interior decorators. This well-illustrated volume analyses the visual artefacts—garments and hair styles, art and furniture—the group used to signal membership.”—Lauren Indvik, Financial Times, “Best Books of 2020: Style”
“Ms. Hitchmough’s history vividly fleshes out Dorothy Parker’s observation that ‘[The Bloomsbury Group] lived in squares, painted in circles, and loved in triangles.’”—Ann Landi, Wall Street Journal
“An in-depth look at the visual creations of the group of writers that included Virginia Woolf and E. M. Forster . . . features fascinating unpublished photographs.”—Martin Chilton, The Independent
“Hitchmough’s investigation is very much detailed, and her minute scrutiny of various forms of evidence does convey a precise impression of the group’s visual identity, delivering the promised new take on Bloomsbury.”—Laurent Bury, Cercles
“[A] fascinating and wide-ranging account. . . . This is a book that wears its scholarship lightly and will be enjoyed by both Bloomsbury aficionados and newcomers alike.”—Lucinda Willan, V&A Magazine
“[A] fascinating study [and] beautifully illustrated with images of paintings, decorative arts and clothing designs, plus a wealth of previously unpublished photographs, the book explores the distinctive aesthetic that defines this loose collective of artists, writers and intellectuals that revolved round Vanessa Bell and her sister, Virginia Woolf.”—Victoria Marston, Country Life, Book of the Week
“Examines unpublished photographs and members’ experiments in dress in the first in-depth analysis of how the Bloomsbury Group generated and broadcast this image.”—Homes & Antiques
“A landmark in the analysis and recognition of what exactly we mean when we use the term ‘Bloomsbury.’ . . . It is far-reaching in its subject matter, easily accessible in style, rigorous in its research and often surprising and stimulating in its conclusions.”—Claire Nicholson, Virginia Woolf Bulletin
“[Draws] on family photo albums, painted portraits and lesser-known works, such as textiles and clothing made by the Omega Workshops in London.”—Sophie Devlin, House & Garden
“This great swirl of lives that Hitchmough choreographs as if to a soundtrack by Debussy and the Ballets Russes—itself so influential on the Bloomsbury look—makes for an enticing book, one with something new to say.”—Jane Hill, World of Interiors
“Fascinating and wide-ranging, this book will be enjoyed by both Bloomsbury aficionados and newcomers alike.”—Angela Wintle, Sussex Life
“Despite the large number of existing publications about the Bloomsbury Group, the first to promote Post-Impressionism in England, this volume adds refreshing new knowledge on their work and self-fashioning.”—Lou Taylor, Costume Society
“[A] treasure of a book.”—Lou Taylor, Costume Society