History of The Bloomsbury Group

The Bloomsbury Group

The Bloomsbury Group. Courtesy of Huxley and Bloomsberries

The Bloomsbury Group is the name that was given to the collective of writers, artists and philosophers who frequented the Bloomsbury area of London during the period of 1907 to 1930. This group of friends and relatives were initially introduced during their time at Cambridge’s Kings and Trinity Colleges; many of the men being members of the ‘Apostles’, a semi-secret society at Cambridge, founded for the discussion of ‘serious questions’.

It was at Trinity College that future art critic Clive Bell became good friends with Thoby Stephen. He in turn would introduce his sisters Vanessa and Virginia to the men of the Bloomsbury Group. Vanessa would go onto become a successful painter and interior designer and marry Clive Bell. Virginia would marry the writer Leonard Woolf and become the highly regarded novelist and critic we know today.

Once they had moved to London, the group would gather at the Bell home for the ‘Friday Club’, an evening run by Vanessa which continued the discussions and entertainment the group had previously enjoyed in Cambridge. These evenings are considered to be the foundation for the group.

Bloomsburys Square

Bloomsburys Square. Courtesy of Philosopher In The City

In addition to the Bells and the Woolfs, the group included the novelist E.M. Forster; author of ‘A Room with a View’, the biographer Lytton Strachey and the economist John Maynard Keynes. Philosopher Bertrand Russell, ‘Brave New World’ writer Aldous Huxley, and fellow writer T.S. Eliot were also associated with the group.

T.S Eliot & Virginia Woolf

T.S Eliot & Virginia Woolf. Courtesy of The Huffington Post

The group was not completely in agreement in all subjects explored during their meetings but some of their most interesting ideas and writings were formed during their disagreements. The group was, however, united by the influence of philosopher G. E. Moore, who wrote that the key to life was love, the creation and enjoyment of aesthetic experience and the pursuit of knowledge. As such, they withdrew from the social conventions of Victorian life.

They embraced liberal political stances, Viriginia Woolf, particularly, became vocal in her opinions on women’s suffrage. The artists involved in the Bloomsbury Group also rejected traditional artistic values, favouring the post-impressionist style explored by artist Roger Fry, who joined the group in 1910. The group also maintained a focus on personal relationships and pleasure rather than public image, which resulted in several complication love triangles among the friends.

Roger Fry

Roger Fry. Courtesy of Distorte Darts

The First World War did have some impact on the group, most of whom were contentious objectors, which caused some controversy. It was however a fruitful time; The Woolfs founded ‘Hogarth Press’ which published works by T.S. Eliot and Virginia Woolfs own work.

The 1920s saw the culmination of many successful projects from the Bloomsbury Group. E.M. Forster completed ‘A Passage to India’ which remains the most highly regarded novel on British imperialism in India. Vanessa Bell had several successful solo exhibitions. Roger Fry had, by this time, established himself as a key lecturer in Art History.

By the 1930s the group had merged with the general intellectual life of London, Oxford, and Cambridge. In its legacy, the group cannot be considered a school of thought but the significance of the group and its place in London’s cultural history is that so many creative persons were associated with it.

Each area of London has its unique history that’s waiting to be discovered and it’s always something we look out for when choosing an office location. We currently have a number of managed offices in Soho that are ready for you and your business.

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