Friday, January 26, 2024

Remembering Virginia Woolf on her birthday

A slightly belated homage to Virginia Woolf on the anniversary of her birth, 25 January 1882: one of my early woodcuts, dated 1992, now hanging in our upstairs library. Scroll down for a closer view.

The work hangs below a woodcut portrait of Dorothy Parker (1991), another literary hero. Other works, left, from top, include a small, very early linocut, dated 1986, a homage to another favourite author, Jean Rhys, whose novel Wide Sargasso Sea I was reading at the time. The painting directly below it is by Shane Jones, followed by a drawing by Paul Compton. On the top right hand side is a tapestry by Joy Smith

On my UK trip in September/October 2023, I didn’t make it to Monk’s House, the former home of Virginia and Leonard Woolf, although I have been there on previous occasions. I did, however, manage a day trip to Charleston, formerly the home of Virginia Woolf’s sister, Vanessa Bell, and her partner, Duncan Grant. The plaster bust of Virginia Woolf (1931) by British sculptor Stephen Tomlin displayed in their studio (pictured below) was snapped during my visit.

What is the meaning of life? That was all - a simple question; one that tended to close in on one with years, the great revelation had never come. The great revelation perhaps never did come. Instead, there were little daily miracles, illuminations, matches struck unexpectedly in the dark; here was one.

― Virginia Woolf, To the Lighthouse, 1927