Bloomsbury Rooms. Modernism, Subculture, and Domesticity

ISBN: 9780300102482
Artist(s): Various
Author(s): Christopher Reed
Format: hardback
Edition: First
Year published: 2004
Publisher: Yale University Press
Publisher Location: London
Total Pages: 324 pages
Illustrations: 180 illustrations, 130 in colour


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The first decades of the twentieth century brought enormous change in Britain. Men’s and women’s roles came under scrutiny, class and social structures were transformed. This book casts new light on the notorious Bloomsbury Group and how the issues of their day influenced their interpretation and decoration of the home. Christopher Reed analyses the rooms designed by Bloomsbury artists as spaces in which to be modern. The book traces the development of Bloomsbury’s domestic aesthetic from the group’s influential promulgation of Post-Impressionism in Britain around 1910 through the 1930s. In detailed studies of rooms and environments created by Virginia Woolf’s sister Vanessa Bell, Duncan Grant, and Roger Fry, Reed challenges the accepted notion that these artists drifted away from modernism. He presents their work as an alternative form of modernism, later suppressed by sexist and homophobic attitudes that disparaged the decorative arts and domesticity in general, as well as Bloomsbury in particular. The aesthetic and ideological implications of the Bloomsbury interiors were international in scope, Reed argues, and these domestic designs served as an important marker along the route to modernity.


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