11 June – 4 September 2016
Recreating the lost interiors designed by the Bloomsbury artists Roger Fry, Vanessa Bell and Duncan Grant.
In 1913 Bloomsbury Group members Roger Fry, Duncan Grant and Vanessa Bell founded The Omega Workshops Ltd; a design enterprise that aimed to reflect the progressive values of their creative circle.
The idea was conceived by Fry who wanted to break down the hierarchical divisions between decorative and fine arts and to provide his friends – who were struggling to find a commercial market for their painting – with an opportunity to earn additional income creating bespoke household accessories.
The range included painted furniture, murals, mosaics, stained glass and textiles, as well as entire interior design themes for set living spaces. Eager to ensure that items were bought based on quality rather than the artist’s reputation, each was displayed anonymously with just the omega symbol inscribed.
Fashionable Bloomsbury residents were soon vying to have their homes transformed. The bombing of London during the two world wars means that few of these London interiors survive (currently the only remaining complete decorative schemes are at Charleston, which acted as the group’s base in Sussex).
This exhibition aims to recreate the lost Bloomsbury rooms, bringing together a range of decorative objects designed by Bell, Grant and Fry between 1914 and 1930, both for the Omega Workshops and independently. They are displayed alongside paintings and drawings that show the interiors in situ.