Bloomsbury Letters to be Auctioned

The “last substantial Bloomsbury trunkload” is surfaced.  And it, along with the Group’s gloriously sordid though always intellectual antics, is going to auction tomorrow.  The Times outlines the confusion over the status of Helen Anrep, who it seems is ultimately looked upon favorably, and Virginia Woolf’s pen goes from vicious (“the female oaf is utterly intolerable”) to “humane.”

New vistas continually appear, as intellectually stimulating as they are vivacious, from the high comedy of the artist Claude Rogers’s wartime service to the tragic death of his contemporary Graham Bell (no relation) in a 1943 air-training accident. Bell’s long, wartime letters are brilliant, including a day in Essex with his girlfriend Olivier Popham (who later married Vanessa’s son Quentin). With others, they lay naked by a lake “like Adams and Eves before the fall. From time to time an aeroplane driven almost mad by the excitement of the naked body, swoops down, but as it cannot be proved that we are parachute troops and as they are British planes, they have not machine gunned us yet”; next day’s slow return to London finds a ravaged Bloomsbury, and guilt “at having missed what was the most horrible night in history”.