Collection by M S
The Bloomsbury Group or Bloomsbury Set was a group of writers, intellectuals, philosophers and artists who held informal discussions in Bloomsbury throughout the 20th century. This English collective of friends and relatives lived, worked or studied near Bloomsbury in London during the first half of the twentieth century. Their work deeply influenced literature, aesthetics, criticism, and economics as well as modern attitudes towards feminism, pacifism, and sexuality. It's best known members were Virginia Woolf, John Maynard Keynes, E. M. Forster and Lytton Strachey.
The Bloomsbury Group evolved from two different sets of people. The first members were the writers and critics, university friends of Vanessa's brother Thoby Stephen. They met on Thursdays at the Stephen family's home, 46 Gordon Square, for drinks and conversation.
Lytton Strachey and other members of the Strachey family, Clive Bell, Saxon Sydney-Turner, Leonard Woolf, and the economist John Maynard Keynes were all key members, as was David Garnett, who was introduced by Duncan Grant during the First World War. Close friends of these key figures also attended from time to time.
Letter from Vanessa Stephen (Bell) to Clive Bell about the Friday Club Letter from Vanessa Stephen (Bell)
to Clive Bell about the Friday Club
© Henrietta Garnett.
All rights reserved. The Friday Club, started in 1905 by Vanessa Bell and some of her art school friends, provided the focus for the artist members of the Bloomsbury Group. Although set up as an exhibiting society (with the help of Clive Bell), it provided artists with the opportunity to discuss their work, and ideas and developments in the wider art world.
In addition to Vanessa and her friends Margery Snowdon, Mary Creighton and Sylvia Milman, membership included Duncan Grant, John Nash, Henry Lamb, Edward Wadsworth and students from the Slade School of Art. Roger Fry was introduced by Clive Bell in 1910 and became an important influence on the group. Friends of the artists also attended meetings and often purchased their work.
The Group's exhibitions were held in small galleries in London such as the Baillie and the Alpine Club Gallery, which the group used from 1910 to 1912. After 1912 the Friday Club was replaced by the Grafton Group, another exhibiting society, organised by Roger Fry.
© Tate Archive, 2003