Vanessa Bell and her partner, fellow painter Duncan Grant, frequently made trips to Paris and the South of France in search of inspiration for works. In 1921 they stayed for five months at a villa near St Tropez called La Maison Blanche, and this was the setting for Interior with a Table
. Bell wrote of the experience: ‘It’s delicious to be in the South – one forgets how nice it is – all the colours and the light and space and everything looking so baked through’. The rustic oranges, terracotta and olive greens of the countryside seen through the window behind the table do have a warm, baked quality to them, even though presided over by the overcast October sky.
Interior with a Table
Date of work
Original: Oil paint on canvas 54 x 64.1 cm © Estate of Vanessa Bell, courtesy Henrietta Garnett
Vanessa Bell (1879 – 1961) was a founding member of the Bloomsbury Group, and the sister of Virginia Woolf. She studied at Sir Arthur Cope’s art school and the Royal Academy. In 1907 she married the art critic Clive Bell and had three children. The couple had an open marriage, and Bell had several affairs, most notably with the painter Duncan Grant, who fathered one of her children, and whom she is buried near in the Firle Parish Churchyard. She was one of the first British artists to experiment with abstraction, and was also a talented interior designer.