Vanessa Bell (Virginia Woolf’s sister) and the love of her life (although he was gay), Duncan Grant were artists & part of The Bloomsbury Group. They lived in Charleston House, in Hastings part of the larger artist & writer group who lived around the way.
They painted the interior of their house & lived a very bohemian life between the wars, part commune, part free love. Conscientious objectors to the war, they lived a life that was against everything normal and accepted, an incredibly modern life. They had little luxuries, but what they did have was their creativity. Instead of using a tablecloth, Vanessa painted the tabletop, and the walls to substitute for wallpaper. The architectural details were highlighted in out-there colours, that were not traditional to the time.
Bell painted patterns and circles, which adorned window panels, door surrounds, doors, wardrobes, tables and any other paintable space in the house in repeat. So unusual, but beautiful and perfect. Everyone who lived in Charleston House had an incredible eye for colour combinations. The bathroom was the most beautiful shade of punchy green! The extensive garden that you see pictures of (devastated there were no photos allowed in the home) is an indication of where their inspiration comes from. Much like myself, nature played a huge part in their colour choices.
The garden is filled with: apples, cosmos, Japanese windmill, sweetpea, dahlias, hollyhocks, Gladys, thistles, nasturtiums, poppies, waterlily, plums, roses, rosehip, honeysuckle, onionballs, figs, grapes, snapdragons, butterflies galore, cornflowers, clementine & forget-me-nots.