The elder sister of Virginia Woolf, the daughter of the prominent Victorian writer Sir Leslie Stephen, Vanessa Bell was a well-known painter and designer of the early twentith century. She was a central figure of a group of writers and artists known as the Bloomsbury. When she was seventeen, Vanessa began to take drawing classes. She entered the painting school of Royal Academy Schools in 1901.
In 1907, she married Clive Bell, a poet and an art critic who was also a member of the Bloomsbury group. Vanessa first had a love affair with the artist and critic Roger Fry, and later fell in love forever with the talented artist Duncan Grant. Both of these men were also prominent members of the Bloomsbury circle and had a substantial influence on Vanessa's attitude and on her art. Vanessa had three children, Julian and Quentin Bell, and Angeliclia, the daughter by Duncan.
In addition to her artistic talent, Vanessa was a good writer, who frequently wrote letters to her sister and other members of Bloomsbury. Even Virginia once wrote to Vanessa saying, "You have a touch in letter writing that is beyond me.
Iceland Poppies, 1909
Caws, Mary Ann. Women of Bloomsbury. London: Routledge, 1990
Spalding, Frances. Vanessa Bell. London: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1985
Naylor, Gillian., Ed. Bloomsbury: The Artists, Authors and Designers By Themselves. Great Britian: Octopus Group/Amazon, 1990