Q is for …


Quentin Bell (1910 to 1996)

Quentin was the son of Vanessa and Clive Bell and the nephew of Virginia Woolf.  Here is his impressive C.V.

  • Art historian, critic, biographer, author, sculptor, artist, lecturer.
  • Lecturer in Art History, University of Durham
  • Professor of Fine Art, University of Leeds
  • Slade Professor of Fine Art, Oxford University
  • Professor of Fine Art, University of Hull
  • Professor of Art History, University of Sussex

Quentin’s biography of Virginia Woolf earned him the James Tait Black Memorial Prize; one of the oldest literary awards with prizes for biography, fiction and drama. He was awarded the prize in 1972 and he was in very good company. Lytton Strachey also won the biography prize in 1921 for Queen Victoria; David Garnett won the fiction award in 1922 for Lady into Fox, and E M Forster won in 1924 for Passage to India.

Quentin married Anne Olivier Popham, a fellow of the Royal Society of Literature, with two honorary doctorates from the York and Sussex Universities. Quentin and Anne had three children; Julian (artist), Cressida (textile designer, interior designer and cake decorator), and Virginia (writer).

I have mentioned that Quentin Bell was Professor at Leeds University. The University campus boasts a range of public art but Bell’s Levitating Woman, also known as The Dreamer  is the most popular and I cant wait to see it. The best bit? Leeds is my home town so its only about thirty minutes drive to the University. I will of course show you my photographs but for now, please use this link.

Quentin Bell: The Dreamer

I have now been to see this artwork and have taken a few photographs. Please visit my ‘cultural afternoon (part 1)’ post to see how I got on (it is under the ‘places of interest’ menu).


2 thoughts on “Q is for …

  1. I am always interested in how women are and have been represented in art and literature. My initial reaction to ‘The Dreamer’, although I like it enormously, is that it again shows the ideal of women as passive, incapacitated, or dead! Think Ophelia. The Bloomsberries, I know, were not so conventional, so I would love to know what Bell’s intention was in creating this wonderful piece of art.


  2. I must admit the thought did cross my mind and certainly the ideal Victorian woman was passive.This sculpture dates much later though and was unveiled in 1982. I have seen this sculpture and the information plaque states that Bell was inspired by seeing a conjuror’s trick as a child. Levitating figures are, apparently, a recurring theme in Bell’s art. It seems that it was the illusion of magic that was responsible for his creativity.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s