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Vanessa Bell (née Stephen)

2 of 18 portraits of Vanessa Bell (née Stephen)

Vanessa Bell (née Stephen), by Duncan Grant, circa 1918 - NPG 4331 - © National Portrait Gallery, London

© National Portrait Gallery, London

Vanessa Bell (née Stephen)

by Duncan Grant
oil on canvas, circa 1918
37 in. x 23 7/8 in. (940 mm x 606 mm)
Purchased, 1963
Primary Collection
NPG 4331


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Sitterback to top

  • Vanessa Bell (née Stephen) (1879-1961), Painter; sister of Virginia Woolf. Sitter in 18 portraits, Artist associated with 14 portraits.

Artistback to top

  • Duncan Grant (1885-1978), Artist. Artist of 9 portraits, Sitter associated with 29 portraits.

This portraitback to top

Bell began to work with Grant, a younger painter, whose work she admired, from around 1913 and they subsequently fell in love. Its use of rich, vibrant colour and pattern demonstrates Grant's adoption of a Post-Impressionist style. At the time the portrait was painted, Bell was also experimenting with bold colour and simplified form in her own painting.

Linked publicationsback to top

Linked displays and exhibitionsback to top

Events of 1918back to top

Current affairs

Despite the suspension of the Suffrage movement during the war, the Government finally agrees to grant women the right to vote as recognition of their vital role in the war effort. However, The Representation of the People Act only extended the franchise to female householders and university graduates over 30. Equal rights to men were not granted until 1928.

Art and science

War Poet, Wilfred Owen, is killed in action just a week before the end of the war. His poems, including Dulce et Decorum Est and Anthem for Doomed Youth, tell of the horror of war in the trenches and the tragic loss of a generation of young men who enthusiastically signed up to fight in a war that became seen as futile rather than glorious.

International

British representative, Admiral Rosslyn Wemyss, signs the Armistice calling a ceasefire on the 11th November 1918 and ending the war. Germany and Austria loose their empires and become republics. Around the same time a global flu pandemic brakes out - known in England as Spanish Flu - killing 50-100 million people within a year compared to 15 million fatalities from the four years of war.

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