Some have interpreted this painting as an expression of Bell’s love for France. At this point in her career, she was concentrating on her immediate surroundings, celebrating her own family, pleasures and home in Sussex. Here, a brace of pheasants hangs behind a bottle and glass of red wine, a richly coloured scene that demonstrates the simple pleasures of food and drink in a domestic setting.
Date of work
Original: Oil paint on canvas 90.8 x 73 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.