Friday, May 31, 2013

Friday Feature: The Bloomsbury Group

Members of the Bloomsbury Group
Including Lytton Strachey, Duncan Grant and Vanessa Bell

Virginia Woolf, Lytton Stracheny, Duncan Grant, Dora Charrington, Roger Fry and Vanessa Bell were a few of the artists in what is now called the Bloomsbury Group.  It was a loosely defined group united by friendships, the occasional dinner party, artistic style, and liberated feminist ideals.

George Edward Moore's book Principia Ethica greatly influenced the philosophical musings of this group.  It focused on the idea that "good" is not a trait that can be rigidly defined but rather is formulated by the "intrinsic" gut feeling of an individual.  Moore wrote, "all moral laws are merely statements that certain kinds of actions will have good effects" meaning that an action in itself is not good or bad therefore morality should not be based on rules of conduct.  For example many of the Bloomsbury group questioned the moral judgement held in much of British culture during that time  that homosexuality was a sin.  They renounced ethics that were based solely on past societal structure and not on the rights of the individual.  Taking it one step further many of the Bloomsbury group members also questioned the idea of traditional monogamous marriage.  Several of them practiced polyamory maintaining relationships with multiple consensual partners.  This notion of redefining morality and where the line can be drawn between good and bad ethics is as fascinating today as it was a hundred years ago during the heyday of the Bloomsbury Group. 

Living Room at the Charleson House

Anyway... back to art.  One of the many places on my bucket list to visit is the Charleson House in England.  It was the home of Vanessa Bell and Duncan Grant two members of the Bloomsbury Group.  Littered with murals and art the Charleson House is a unique example of an English country home.

The prime objects in life are love,
the creation and enjoyment of aesthetic experience
and the pursuit of knowledge.
-G. E. Moore

Virginia Woolf Painting by Roger Fry

"Who's afraid of Virginia Woolf?  No, no, no not I."
-Edward Albee

Dora Carrington


  1. I wasn't aware of Moore's influence. Their views about art, life and love were certainly all about the individual. I learned something this Firday. Great post!

    1. Thanks I learned something too because I was also unaware of Moore's philosophical influence until I researched for this post. Thanks for sharing!


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