Virginia Woolf

© Man Ray Trust/ADAGP, Paris and DACS, London 2021

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Virginia Woolf

by Man Ray
gelatin silver print, 27 November 1934
9 5/8 in. x 7 5/8 in. (246 mm x 195 mm)
Purchased, 1981
Primary Collection
NPG P170

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  • Man Ray (Emmanuel Radnitzky) (1890-1976), Photographer and artist. Artist or producer associated with 23 portraits, Sitter in 16 portraits.

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The novelist Virginia Woolf visited Man Ray's exhibition at Lund Humphries in London on 26 November 1934 and was asked by the photographer to sit for him. In his autobiography Man Ray recorded that he put lipstick on Virginia Woolf's mouth, explaining that it was for technical reasons and would not show in the photograph. Virginia's husband, Leonard Woolf, described this as by far the best photograph ever taken of her.

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Current affairs

Sir Stafford Cripps represents the miners of Gresford Colliery in Wrexham at an inquiry into the recent gas explosion and fire which killed 263 miners, and three rescue workers in one of the worst mining disasters in British history.

Art and science

Percy Shaw invents 'Cat's eyes'. The development of road reflectors increased safety on the roads at night and proved to be particularly useful during the wartime blackout. They are still used today.
Dylan Thomas published his first volume of poetry, 18 Poems.


Stalin and Hitler consolidate dictatorial power by 'purging' their opponents. In the Soviet Union, members of the Communist Party and particular sectors of society such as the intelligentsia were targeted in the 'Great Purge', while in Germany Hitler murdered hundreds of potential opponents in the SA during the 'Night of the Long Knives'.
Thousands in the USA are forced to flee their homes to escape the Dust Bowl storms.

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