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National Portrait Gallery

Exhibition Detail
The Bloomsbury Poet & The Cambridge Photographer: Julian Bell & Lettice Ramsey
St Martin's Place
London WC2H 0HE
United Kingdom

September 18th, 2012 - April 21st, 2013
Julian Heward Bell by Unknown photographer, Julian Heward Bell by Unknown photographer,
circa 1929, glossy bromide print
© Courtesy of National Portrait Gallery
+44 020 7321 6620
Open daily 10am - 6pm; Late night opening Thursday and Friday until 9pm
photographs, portrait
Room 31 Free

Julian Bell was born in 1908, the son of the painter Vanessa Bell and her husband, the art critic Clive Bell. He attended King’s College, Cambridge (1927–34), where he contributed to The Venture, and was a member of the intellectual discussion group known as the Apostles. He published two books of poems: Winter Movement (1930) and Work for the Winter (1936).

At Cambridge, Bell formed a relationship with Lettice Ramsey (1898-1985) whose firm Ramsey & Muspratt specialized in photographing the staff and students, many of whom were mutual acquaintances. In 1935 Bell accepted the position of Professor of English at the University of Wuhan in China. He returned to Europe in 1937, anxious to participate in the Spanish Civil War, where he was killed on 18 July 1937.

Photographs in the display by Ramsey & Muspratt include studies of Julian’s father Clive Bell, his brother Quentin Bell and several of his Cambridge circle and the Bloomsbury group with whom he was associated, such as Virginia Woolf, Roger Fry, Maynard Keynes, G.E. Moore, Dadie Rylands and John Cornford.

The display coincides with the publication of Julian Bell: from Bloomsbury to the Spanish Civil War, by Peter Stansky and Williams Abrahams (2012).

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