My book review of 'The Bloomsbury Look' by Wendy Hitchmough

The Bloomsbury Look

by Wendy Hitchmough
The Bloomsbury Look
by Wendy Hitchmough

Wendy Hitchmough was the curator of Charleston for a number of years. Presenting previously unpublished photographs and using new research, she details how the Bloomsbury Group became an entity, shaping their philosophies and collective identity.

The illustrations include wonderful casual snapshots, amateur studio portraits and family albums as well as some glorious artwork.

Hitchmough analyses the clothing in portraits exploring the design and manufacture of the garments as well as comparing how different artists approached the same subject, offering their own distinct interpretations. She introduces the collections of the Omega Workshop and how these brought the Bloomsbury aesthetic to the general public.

While members of the Group resisted definition, their art and dress delivered a coherent, distinctive group identity and the book also explores how they participated in 20th century modernism as artists, models, curators, critics and collectors. People like Virginia Woolf, EM Forster, Vanessa Bell, Lytton Strachey and John Maynard Keynes.

Their legacy is wide-ranging and never fails to intrigue and delight. This book opens up another facet of their lives with which to revisit familiar works, and unlock new material too.

Review date: January 2021
Publication date: 13th October 2020