[Detail, White, the Victoria and Albert Museum.]
I know. White, the name of this 1913 Omega Workshops printed linen attributed to Vanessa Bell is a little confusing considering the spirited use of color. But, like the other furnishing fabrics we looked at this week, White was apparently named for a contemporary of Bell's -- most likely suffragette Amber Blanco-White.
[Again, White from the Courtald Gallery's 2009 exhibition, Beyond Bloomsbury: Designs of the Omega Workshops 1913–19.]
Bell's abstract linear design incorporates alternating stripes and a step pattern over patches of color. When I first saw it, I responded the same way I would to a Rorschach test: subjectively. For me, the blobs of color resemble falling leaves and some of the lines also suggest veins on leaves. In these podcasts, Courtald curator for sculpture and decorative arts, Dr. Alexandra Gerstein, says that when Omega Workshops furnishing fabrics were produced, some women had them made into tunics. I however am feeling this linen for a bench, foot-stool, or bolster.
For more, visit Beyond Bloomsbury and the V & A collections.