Hogarth Press Celebration

Would love to be able to go to this!

A Press of One’s Own: Celebrating 100 Years of Virginia and Leonard Woolf’s Hogarth Press, a one-time event celebrating the centennial of the Hogarth Press, will be held on Wednesday, May 10, at Harvard University. The multi-disciplinary and interactive celebration includes an exhibition of the original early Hogarth books and a round-table discussion at Houghton Library, […]

via One-day Harvard event celebrates centennial of Hogarth Press — Blogging Woolf


Leonard Woolf & Planting Iris

Planting Iris

I liked this post from Austin Kleon so much I’m stealing it. Hopefully like an artist, and not like a scoundrel. Nowadays, my equivalent of planting iris might even be to… plant iris. I love their wonderfully deep colour.

Whilst definitely not a gardener, as I have got older I have found myself paying much more attention to what is around me. Finding myself better able to appreciate what I have, what is there in front of me, rather than always longing to be somewhere else, for something else. And since I am now living on a farm, that means taking an interest in the countryside around me, from the muddy ditch and frost in winter to the hedgerow of wild flowers and beyond. Whether city walking or country walking, both give you the time to pay attention, to notice.

The quote is from Downhill All The Way, Leonard Woolf’s autobiography of the years 1919-1939. The passage in full  –

I will end… with a little scene that took place in the last months of peace. They were the most terrible months of my life, for, helplessly and hopelessly, one watched the inevitable approach of war. One of the most horrible things at that time was to listen on the wireless to the speeches of Hitler—the savage and insane ravings of a vindictive underdog who suddenly saw himself to be all-powerful. We were in Rodmell during the late summer of 1939, and I used to listen to those ranting, raving speeches. One afternoon I was planting in the orchard under an apple-tree iris reticulata, those lovely violet flowers… Suddenly I heard Virginia’s voice calling to me from the sitting room window: “Hitler is making a speech.” I shouted back, “I shan’t come. I’m planting iris and they will be flowering long after he is dead.” Last March, twenty-one years after Hitler committed suicide in the bunker, a few of those violet flowers still flowered under the apple-tree in the orchard.

Woolf from Kat Von D

First the A/W collection from Burberry; now, just launching for 2017, Virginia Woolf is the inspiration for one of the 27 new ‘Everlasting Liquid Lipstick shades’ from Kat Von D, the cosmetics line of tattoo artist Katherine Von Drachenberg.

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New @katvondbeauty Everlasting Liquid Lip shades. Fun facts + info below: 👽ZERO: pale cement grey, named after @ashkittty kitty cat. 🗡DAGGER: cool, dusty grey/periwinkle. 🐺WOOLF: deep stone grey, inspired by one of my favourite poets, Virginia Woolf. 🌲PLAN 9: this is the Everlasting version of our famous Studded Kiss deep seafoam green lipstick. 🐳DREAMER: neon aqua. 💙BLUE BLOODED: the most luscious royal blue. 💜ROXY: this existing shade will be released in full-size in Feb/March. 🦄K-DUB: named this beautiful soft/neon berry after a woman I look up to in many ways: Kristin Walcott. Pre-launching 4/20. 🌺RUBENS: neon magenta inspired by my fave master painter: Peter Paul Rubens. This shade will be limited edition, available in the Spring on katvondbeauty.com only. #everlastingliquidlipstick #katvondbeauty #crueltyfree #vegan

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Who will look good with lips of deep stone grey I don’t know, but it’s certainly a different take on Woolf than the rich brocades of the more usual Orlando direction. And for the London that Virginia Woolf (and Mrs Dalloway) loved, what could be more appropriate?

This is not, incidentally, the only literary referenced colour from the pastel Goth palette of the LA based Kat Von D. There’s also Plath, deep russet red; Lolita, a chestnut rose; Lolita II, a terra cotta nude; and Nosferatu, a blood crimson. All can be enjoyed in the knowledge that they are completely free of animal-derived ingredients and never tested on animals.

Italians in Soho

‘English Lessons at a school for Italian children in Soho’, c. 1910, photographer: Topical Press Agency.

Saw this image at a recent exhibition of photographs about Soho at the Getty Images Gallery, which recalled Rezia’s Italo-English heritage:

‘The English are so silent,’ Rezia said. She liked it, she said. She respected these Englishmen, and wanted to see London, and the English horses, and the tailor-made suits, and could remember hearing how wonderful the shops were, from an aunt who had married and lived in Soho.

In his notes to the Oxford World’s Classics edition of Mrs Dalloway David Bradshaw writes on Soho ‘a cosmopolitan and bohemian district of central London, nowadays revelling in tawdry disrepute’ which is now somewhat out of date; it is much less tawdry and disreputable these days, though still distinctively different from other areas.

But ‘from the late 17th century until quite recently’ the area certainly was ‘densely populated with foreign immigrants, many of them French, German, Swiss, or Italian in origin.’ The original Patisserie Valerie, for examplewas up the road from the French House pub (which, incidentally, when it actually was the pub of choice of Free French officers, was called the York Minster).

‘Great Lives’ feature on Virginia Woolf

Virginia Woolf on Prose

An excellent Great Lives a couple of days ago on BBC Radio 4 with comedian Sara Pascoe on Virginia Woolf, with expert commentary from Alexandra Harris, professor of English at the University of Liverpool.

Refreshingly, they offered a portrait of Woolf that consciously sought to go beyond the death and madness areas of her life. Whilst the idea of Virginia Woolf as the host of QI may be a step too far, it is easy to recognise Woolf in Sara Pascoe’s description of her as “egotistical, over-sensitive, manic, and so funny socially.”

The programme includes a recording of Virginia Woolf speaking and, underlining her sociability, a clip from author Elizabeth Bowen remembering Woolf’s engaging and unrestrained laughter.

I like Alexandra Harris’s answer of ‘Friendship’ to the endlessly debated question ‘what did the Bloomsbury Group mean?’ Close to the heart of the matter I think.

Her summation of Woolf, at the end of the programme, is also a delight:

Laughing, trespassing, breaking down barriers. Starting a sentence that zooms along a runway like a ‘plane. Taking us into the imaginations of people we never thought we wanted to know about. Allowing us to look out from eyes we’ve never inhabited before.

You can listen to the programme here: http://bbc.in/2bbulrV

New Burberry Collection inspired by ‘Orlando’


Iconic British fashion brand Burberry revealed the first images of its Autumn/Fall campaign on Tuesday, featuring designs explicitly inspired by Orlando.

“Just as Virginia Woolf’s Orlando is both a love letter to the past and a work of profound modernity, this week-long exhibition aims to nod both to the design heritage that is so integral to Burberry’s identity, and to some of Britain’s most exciting creators, and the innovation and inspiration behind their work,” said Christopher Bailey, the brand’s chief creative officer.

Fittingly, the runway show for the new ‘seasonless’ collection will mark the first time that Burberry mens and womenswear will be shown together.

Walking up Bond Street today, Mrs Dalloway would find Burberry at Nos. 21-23 New Bond Street.

Vain trifles as they seem, clothes have, they say, more important offices than to merely keep us warm. They change our view of the world and the world’s view of us.
― Virginia Woolf, Orlando

Burberry Orlando Collection

Virginia Woolf Classics in Fabulous New Covers by Marimekko Designer

Vintage Woolf Autumn 2016

Fabulous new editions of Virginia Woolf’s major works are being issued by Vintage Classics this Autumn, with covers designed by the Finnish textile and homewares company Marimekko.

The striking and assured use of colour is characteristic of the design house which traces its history back to 1949 when Armi Ratia created a range of bright new patterns for her husband’s textile printing company – which continued to print textiles by hand until 1973. The brand gained global attention in 1960 when Jacqueline Kennedy bought seven Marimekko dresses.

“One has to dream, and one must stand out from the rest.” Armi Ratia. The story of the company is well worth reading here.

The covers are by Helsinki-based illustrator and Marimekko designer Aino-Maija Metsola, who typically works in watercolours when designing clothing (according to the article in fastcompany here).

I particularly love the bold, translucent colours used for the covers of Mrs Dalloway and The Waves.

Mrs Dalloway, Vintage Classics Oct 2016.png

The book fights back! I rarely buy actual books any more because I travel for work so much, but may have to make an exception for these. Publication date is October 6th.

All images Aino-Maijo Metsola and Penguin