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CRESSIDA BELL talks to her sister, Virginia Nicholson, about Charleston, her design work and curating her recent exhibition, ‘In Colour’.
Vanessa Bell and Virginia Woolf agreed while they were in the nursery that one would be the artist while the other would be the writer. Their direct descendants, sisters Cressida Bell and Virginia Nicholson, divided their roles down the same creative lines.
Here is a chance to eavesdrop on an illustrated conversation, as they reminisce about their Charleston childhood, Charleston’s acclaimed exhibition, ‘In Colour’ – curated by Cressida – and life as a top textile and interiors designer. Expect memories, intimacy and influences from two exceptionally creative Charleston insiders.
Cressida Bell is a British designer specialising in textiles and interiors. Cressida studied in the Fashion department of St Martin’s School of Art during its 1980s heyday; after graduating from the Royal College of Art in 1984 she set up her company, CRESSIDA BELL. Today, from her London studio, she produces artefacts for the home, accessories for men and women, and many bespoke items, from stationery and illustration to murals, carpets and furnishing fabrics. Her work is known for its uncompromising decorative qualities and original palette, and – while acknowledging the influence of her celebrated Bloomsbury Group forebears (Quentin Bell was her father and Vanessa Bell her grandmother) – over the last thirty-five years Cressida has forged her own highly individual style.
Virginia Nicholson is President of the Charleston Trust. She is a writer and the elder daughter of Quentin and Anne Olivier Bell, who has chronicled the family in Charleston: A Bloomsbury House and Garden. Her books also include the recently published How Was It For You? Women, Sex, Love and Power in the 1960s; Among the Bohemians: Experiments in Living 1900-1939; Singled Out: How Two Million Women Survived Without Men after the First World War; Millions Like Us: Women’s Lives in War and Peace 1939-1949 and Perfect Wives in Ideal Homes: The Story of Women in the 1950s.