Woolf at the Door

Virginia and Leonard’s home at 52 Tavistock Square

The home of Leonard and Virginia Woolf at 52 Tavistock Square, was destroyed on October 16, 1940. They had leased the house from the Duke of Bedford for some years. In the basement was Virginia’s writing room and the Hogarth Press. The ground floor was sublet to solicitors Dollman and Pritchard, the two floors above was the Woolf’s flat.

At the time the bomb struck the Woolf’s had already moved out to 37 Mecklenburgh Street as the noise and dust from the building of the Tavistock Hotel irked them so much and Virginia found working impossible. They were waiting for the lease on the house to expire and it was empty at the time of it’s destruction. All that was left in the house was the decorations and murals painted by Vanessa Bell and Duncan Grant.

The photograph above left shows the fireplace in the Woolf’s home with the murals on the walls. Below you can see the same mural from a photograph in the living room. The photographs were taken as the building was being demolished, bit by bit.

The mantlepiece (left) has a vase by Phyllis Keyes, decorated by Duncan Grant c1930. The fire-screen was commissioned by Virginia c1924-28 from Duncan Grant and the textile embroidered by Duncan’s mother, Ethel. The images below are the items as they survive today.

Below is the original painting for the fire-screen that Grant’s mother worked from to do the needlework.

Duncan Grant design for Fire Screen with Seascape, 1926-27 c.

Below are some more photographs of the flats interior. The murals were painted by both Vanessa Bell and Duncan Grant. It also features some of the chairs, designed by Duncan and Vanessa on Dryad chairs.

A surviving chair from Monk House.

The photo below, that said to be the last photo of Virginia, so that suggests that the panels in this room where on wood and movable became its the panel in the picture above right

The mirror in the living room with a freeze designed by Duncan Grant.

The table and chairs were designed by Duncan and Vanessa with V.W. monograms on the back.