The Bloomsbury Boom

As our 20th century British rooms are re-hung and Life in Squares hits our screens the Bloomsbury Group seems to be on everyone’s lips!

Visit the Gallery to see Vanessa Bell’s A Conversation with its original frame, painted by the artist alongside works by Duncan Grant, Roger Fry and others.

Vanessa Bell - A Conversation
You may not know that The Courtauld also holds the largest collection of surviving working drawings of the Omega Workshops, bequeathed to the Gallery by Fry’s daughter Pamela Diamand in 1958.

Established in 1913 by Roger Fry, the Omega Workshops were an experimental design collective.

Omega

Well ahead of their time, the Omega Workshops brought the experimental language of avant-garde art to domestic design in Edwardian Britain. They were a laboratory of design ideas, creating a range of objects for the home, from rugs and linens to ceramics, furniture and clothing – all boldly coloured with dynamic abstract patterns. No artist was allowed to sign their work, and everything produced by the Workshops bore only the Greek letter Ω (Omega).

Inspired by their works our Gallery shop has developed a beautiful range of gifts both in-store and online.

From jewellery to scarves, prints to rugs and even award-winning wallpaper you can enjoy the striking bold prints of the Omega Workshops wherever you are.

Bloomsbury shop products

Visit our shop at:
Somerset House
Strand
London
WC2R 0RN

Or shop online: courtauldshop.com

 

BLOOMSBURY COMPETITION

We have a copy of The Bloomsbury Cookbook: Recipes for Life, Love and Art to give away, with two complimentary tickets to the Gallery.

This beautiful volume published by Thames and Hudson is packed full of illustrations, quotations and nearly 300 recipes.

The Bloomsbury Cookbook

In July 1913 the Omega Workshops opened to the public. To win, tell us –

What was the London address of the Omega Workshops?

Email your answer, full name and postal address to marketing@courtauld.ac.uk to enter!

Competition closes Thursday 20 August 2015, 10am.

Bloomsbury competition terms and conditions

Finito! – Illuminating Objects

The Courtauld’s newest instalment is finally ready and has now been sitting proudly on display for over a week. The Venetian bowl (I have become accustomed to calling it ‘my’ bowl) is small but a lot of time, consideration and work from many people has gone into its display. From Sacha Gerstein’s curatorial eye to Graeme Barraclough’s experience as a conservator, Colin Lindley’s mount-making efforts and many more, the one tiny bowl had a lot of fantastic people working hard behind it, including my own research!

Elly and her bowl

I arrived bright and early on a beautiful sunny day at The Courtauld on the day of the installation. Due to works being carried out on the galleries lifts, the glass case had to be physically carried up the flight of stairs to its new home. However, this was luckily the last hurdle the project had to make before being completed.

Illuminating objects install

After some adjustments to the mount, and the application of new lettering and positioning of text labels, it was time for the bowl to be installed. The chalcedony glass that makes up the bowl has a fascinating quality of glowing bright red when a bright light is shone directly at it. Because of this, we wanted to get the lights in the case at just the right angle to produce some of this for visitors to see.

Another difficulty was how to angle the bowl. The inside of the bowl has a milky pale green colour, nowhere near as beautiful as the swirling patterns on the outside, which is much more interesting to look at, and relevant to the bowl’s history. This faced us with a small problem, because short of displaying the bowl upside down (in which case it would cease to look much like a bowl), one side of the cabinet was going to have a view of the inside of the bowl.

In a last-minute change (quite literally, just minutes before the glass hood was secured into place!) we decided to try turning the bowl round by 90 degrees. It sounds silly, but having the bowl side-on wasn’t something that had occurred to us! This way, both ‘viewing’ sides of the case, where the text panels are, get a brilliant view of the bowl’s exterior.

And with that, we ushered ourselves out of the gallery as the first members of the public arrived for the day.

The whole process of completing the Illuminating Objects internship has been eye-opening to a whole world I had never truly contemplated before. It has been hard work, but also fascinating, and immensely rewarding.

Thank you to everyone at The Courtauld (and beyond) who has given their time and assistance to this project. Special thanks to Sacha Gerstein for her guidance and expertise, and for giving me the opportunity to take part.