© estate of Vanessa Bell courtesy of Henrietta Garnett; National Portrait Gallery, London
by Vanessa Bell (née Stephen)
oil on panel, 1912
111/2 in. x 9 1/4 in. (293 mm x 236 mm)
Purchased with help from Sir Christopher Ondaatje and the Art Fund, 2005
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Sitterback to top
- Roger Fry (1866-1934), Critic and painter. Sitter in 18 portraits, Artist of 5 portraits.
Artistback to top
- Vanessa Bell (née Stephen) (1879-1961), Painter; sister of Virginia Woolf. Artist associated with 14 portraits, Sitter in 18 portraits.
This portraitback to top
This portrait was painted during a brief holiday spent by Vanessa Bell on the Isle of Wight, in 1912. Fry visited her and they began drawing and painting together. Bell adopted a pseudo-pointilliste technique, using dabs of unmixed paint. This 'leopard manner' had been used by Duncan Grant in the autumn of 1911, and both Bell and Fry subsequently experimented with it.
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Subjects & Themesback to top
Events of 1912back to top
Current affairsThe Royal Flying Corps is established. During the Great War, planes and balloons were used mainly for reconnaissance and observation before technological advances made them fast enough and manoeuvrable enough to attack enemy positions and fight in the air. Arthur (Bomber) Harris won distinction as a pilot destroying five enemy aircraft in the war. In the Second World War he became Marshal of the Royal Air Force.
Art and scienceGeorge Bernard Shaw writes Pygmalion.
Charles Babbage's invents the Analytic Machine. Considered to be the forerunner to the modern computer, the machine was able to make automatic mathematical calculations.
Edward Bulwer-Lytton publishes his hugely popular, but now largely neglected, novel Last Days of Pompeii, set in the Italian city at the time of Mount Vesuvius' eruption in 79AD.
InternationalScott leads the British Expedition to the South Pole reaching it in January 1912 only to discover that the rival Norwegian party had beaten them by a month. All members of Scott's team perished on the return journey. Captain Oates' famous last words were immortalised in Scott's diary: 'I am just going outside and may be some time.'
The 'unsinkable' Titanic strikes an iceberg and goes down on its maiden journey between Southampton and New York.