Aldous Huxley

1 portrait

Aldous Huxley, by Vanessa Bell (née Stephen), circa 1931 - NPG 6717 - © estate of Vanessa Bell courtesy of Henrietta Garnett

© estate of Vanessa Bell courtesy of Henrietta Garnett

Aldous Huxley

by Vanessa Bell (née Stephen)
oil on canvas, circa 1931
28 in. x 22 in. (711 mm x 560 mm)
Purchased with help from the Dame Helen Gardner Bequest, 2005
Primary Collection
NPG 6717

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  • Vanessa Bell (née Stephen) (1879-1961), Painter; sister of Virginia Woolf. Artist associated with 14 portraits, Sitter in 16 portraits.

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Bell's portrait was commenced in 1931. It depicts Huxley on the eve of his emergence as an author of the first rank, and in the midst of his association with the Bloomsbury circle. As an undergraduate he had begun to write poetry and short stories and began to frequent Garsington Manor, home of Lady Ottoline Morrell. It was there that he met the Sitwells, Lytton Strachey, Maynard Keynes, Roger Fry and others associated with Bloomsbury. Around the time Bell was working on the portrait, Huxley was also sitting for Fry who encouraged Bell to use, in her work, the new Maroger medium. This medium accounts for the work's slightly oily surface quality.