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Vanessa Bell, 1879–1961, British

Design for Overmantel

1912 to 1913
Oil on paper
Support (PTG): 30 x 22 inches (76.2 x 55.9 cm)
Credit Line:
Yale Center for British Art, Paul Mellon Fund
Copyright Status:
© Estate of the Artist
Accession Number:
Paintings and Sculpture
Subject Terms:
architectural subject | brushstrokes | figure | fireplace | line | mantlepieces | painting (visual work) | texture
On view

This painting is an early design for the wall above the fireplace in Vanessa Bell’s own studio at 46 Gordon Square, in the heart of Bloomsbury, London, the house to which she moved with her siblings (including her sister, the novelist Virginia Woolf) in 1904. The house was later occupied by the economist John Maynard Keynes, himself a member of the Bloomsbury Group and lover of Duncan Grant. Domestic decoration was central to Bell’s career. She was a key contributor to the short-lived Omega Workshops, a cooperative design workshop founded by her friend Roger Fry in 1913. Omega aimed to spread the Bloomsbury aesthetic through the applied arts and simultaneously break down the division between traditional notions of the fine and decorative arts. Although Omega went out of business in 1919, Bell continued to work as a designer and decorator in the interwar period.

Gallery label for installation of YCBA collection, 2020

Sarh Milroy, Vanessa Bell, London, New York, 2017, p. 81, NJ18 B3907 +A12 2017 (YCBA)

Richard Shone, The art of Bloomsbury, Roger Fry, Vanessa Bell and Duncan Grant , Tate Publishing, London, 1999, p. 147, cat. no. 70, ND468.5 B55 S56 1999 + (YCBA)

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