British Bohemia: At Home with Virginia Woolf and the Bloomsbury Group with Dr. Alan Montgomery - Context Travel

British Bohemia: At Home with Virginia Woolf and the Bloomsbury Group with Dr. Alan Montgomery


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A loose collective of writers, painters, and thinkers, the Bloomsbury Group were as remarkable for their bohemian lifestyles and complicated love lives as they are for the works of art and literature that they produced. In this conversation, we will visit the country houses of this bohemian art collective in order to better understand who this group was, their lives and work, and their legacy today. We’ll discuss the influential, yet controversial characters such as the writer Virginia Woolf and her sister Vanessa Bell as well as artist Duncan Grant and novelist Vita Sackville-West.

The Bloomsbury Group was named after the district of London where it originally came together, but it was in the countryside of south-east England that its members found much of their inspiration. It is also there that several of their country houses have been preserved and can still be visited today. It is these houses that will be the focus of this seminar, the Bloomsbury homes that offer a unique insight into the careers, lives, and loves of their free-spirited residents. Monk’s House became the country retreat of Virginia and Leonard Woolf, while Vanessa Bell set up home with her lover Duncan Grant at nearby Charleston Farm. In many ways, it is these houses, with their eclectic furnishings and colorful wall paintings, that would become the Bloomsbury Group’s greatest legacy. Vita Sackville-West, meanwhile, was born and raised in Knole, one of England’s grandest houses, but spent her later years creating a wonderful garden amongst the romantic ruins of Sissinghurst Castle.

Led by an art historian, this interactive seminar will explore the country houses of the Bloomsbury Group, and discuss both these unique buildings and the lives and work of their inhabitants. Designed to inform curiosity as well as future travels, participants will come away with a deeper appreciation of one of the twentieth century’s most fascinating artistic collectives.

Alan Montgomery was born and raised in Scotland but has spent most of his adult life in London. Having achieved an MA in Art History at Glasgow University, he worked for many years in the art world at both an international auction house and an antique dealer. In recent years he has returned to academia, achieving an MA in Classical Civilisation in 2011, and has recently completed a Ph.D. in which he analyzed eighteenth-century attitudes towards the ancient Roman world. In addition to his work for Context Travel, Alan also writes catalog essays on Contemporary Art for a leading auctioneer. Elected a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland in 2017, his first book, entitled 'Classical Caledonia', was published by Edinburgh University Press in August 2020.

This conversation is suitable for all ages

90 minutes, including a 30 minute Q&A.

Customer Reviews

Based on 22 reviews
77%
(17)
18%
(4)
5%
(1)
0%
(0)
0%
(0)
M
M.D.
Great introduction to the "houses of Bloomsbury"

I have been a huge fan of the Bloomsbury group, particularly Virginia Woolf, since my English grad school days. But I had never seen their country houses. It was a fascinating tour, and I would like to go to Monk's House and Charleston the next time I'm in England. Alan Montgomery was a great facilitator! Would like to take more of his courses.

P
P.S.
Authors, Artists, and Gardens

Dr. Montgomery’s review of British Bohemia and of the artists who comprised the group known as the “Bloomsbury Group” was very interesting. While I had heard of the artists and writers who comprised the group, I did not know about their history, the connections they had with each other, or the homes that they inhabited.

I learned a lot. Well done.

C
C.A.

Guest did not leave comment

J
J.S.

Enthralling and inspiring. Dr. Montgomery is wonderful. I never tire of reading about Charleston and the Bloomsbury group. Seeing these four beautiful homes with Dr. Montgomery was pure enjoyment.

S
S.S.

Guest did not leave comment

Customer Reviews

Based on 22 reviews
77%
(17)
18%
(4)
5%
(1)
0%
(0)
0%
(0)
M
M.D.
Great introduction to the "houses of Bloomsbury"

I have been a huge fan of the Bloomsbury group, particularly Virginia Woolf, since my English grad school days. But I had never seen their country houses. It was a fascinating tour, and I would like to go to Monk's House and Charleston the next time I'm in England. Alan Montgomery was a great facilitator! Would like to take more of his courses.

P
P.S.
Authors, Artists, and Gardens

Dr. Montgomery’s review of British Bohemia and of the artists who comprised the group known as the “Bloomsbury Group” was very interesting. While I had heard of the artists and writers who comprised the group, I did not know about their history, the connections they had with each other, or the homes that they inhabited.

I learned a lot. Well done.

C
C.A.

Guest did not leave comment

J
J.S.

Enthralling and inspiring. Dr. Montgomery is wonderful. I never tire of reading about Charleston and the Bloomsbury group. Seeing these four beautiful homes with Dr. Montgomery was pure enjoyment.

S
S.S.

Guest did not leave comment