Style Court

Textiles, Art History, Gardens, and a Little Mental Traveling with Courtney Barnes 2006-2016


Wild Thing

[Omega Workshops model nursery from
 Beyond Bloomsbury: Designs of the Omega Workshops 1913–19.]

Vanessa Bell is not among the British artists included in the Tate's current show, Picasso & Modern British Art (fellow Bloomsbury painter Duncan Grant is, though). But Bell wrote with enthusiasm about collage and the avant-garde art scene in France, and she was able to visit Picasso's Paris studio before WWI and purchase some of his work.

Oh how I wish we could see this collage-covered 1913 Omega Workshops model nursery -- a collaboration between Bell and Omega designer/manager Winifred Gill -- in color. Pictured in the catalogue accompanying the Courtald Gallery's  2009 exhibition, Beyond Bloomsbury: Designs of the Omega Workshops 1913–19, the room is described by Akiki Kato as adventurous (remember, these are the Downton Abbey years).

 [The exhibition catalogue]

It's inhabited by Bell's and Gill's interpretation of Indian and African wildlife. Seen on the shelves are the Omega's plywood articulated puppets, while trees, flowers and birds cover the walls and ceiling. Gill wrote that the trees were blue with purple dates; flowers were yellow, white and red. It looks like Omega's printed linen Mechtilde was used to cover storage space.

Coincidentally, Jane Pritchard, English National Ballet Archive Consultant, Curator of Dance at the V&A and co-curator of the V&A exhibition Diaghilev and the Golden Age of the Ballets Russes 1909-1929, will give two upcoming talks about Picasso’s design work with the Ballets Russes in London: she'll visit the Tate on Wednesday, February 29 for a lunchtime lecture and Charleston, Bell's country home, on Thursday, March 15 at 7 p.m. Also, this year's Charleston Festival will include an incredibly diverse group of guests; Jessica Fellowes (The World of Downton Abbey) will be on hand Sunday, June 3 for the talk, High Society.

Learn more about Winifred Gill here.

Catch a video about the 2012 Tate exhibition here.

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