Bloomsbury Reflections, New Portraits of Family and Friends

Alen MacWeeney, Author, Sue Allison, With W. W. Norton & Company $39.95 (0p) ISBN 978-0-393-02906-2
Interweaving reminiscences of the descendants of legendary Bloomsbury group members with color photographs of the speakers at their ease in the homes of their forebears, this splendid photograph album, resonant with the belief that the aesthetic life should observe few boundaries, preserves Bloomsburians as a rare and diminishing species. And while the memories put to paper breathe life into long-gone aunts, uncles and parents--the likes of Lytton Strachey and Virginia Woolf, of whom one relative says, ``Her actual moral strength was terrific, much more important than her madness''--the heart of the book is in the composition and clarity of New York-based, Irish photographer MacWeeney's work. Every detail of his pictures seems to suggest the ghosts of stories, and of private taste that managed to set standards for the public: in the study of Clive Bell, husband of Virginia Woolf's sister Vanessa, a robustly colored mantel rises with Mediterranean exuberance from its English setting; like a human objet d'art, Henrietta Garnett, grand-daughter of Vanessa and painter Duncan Grant, perches with a chic and catlike mystery among ancestral finery. Allison is a reporter for Life magazine. (Jan.)
Reviewed on: 10/31/1990
Release date: 11/01/1990
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