Please note that the service is not currently on display

In 2018, we hosted the first museum display of Vanessa Bell and Duncan Grant’s Famous Women Dinner Service, after a successful campaign to acquire the service and bring it home to Charleston.

After it was created for Kenneth Clarke in 1932, the service disappeared from public view and their whereabouts were unknown until very recently. The plates were created by Bell and Grant when they lived at Charleston, and each depicts one famous woman, featuring figures as various as the Queen of Sheba, Sappho, Nell Gwynn, Emily Brontë and Elizabeth I.

More about the Famous Women Dinner Service:

The Famous Women Dinner Service: A Critical Introduction and Catalogue by Dr Hana Leaper, one of the first scholars to work on the Angelica Garnett Gift at Charleston

Duncan Grant and Vanessa Bell’s Famous Women Dinner Service back at Charleston

Decades Before Judy Chicago’s ‘The Dinner Party,’ Virginia Woolf’s Sister Made a Set of Dinner Plates Celebrating 50 Historic Women


Banner Image Credit: Famous Women Dinner Service, courtesy of Piano Nobile (Robert Travers Works of Art Limited).

What's on

Charleston Festival 2019 17 May - 27 May
Charleston Festival 2019

Programme announced February 2019. Join as a Friend for priority booking    

08 Jun
Queer House Tours Launch

Queer Bloomsbury presents an LGBTQ+ day of celebration and the launch of our new queer house tours.

22 JunFair
Designer & Makers Fair

Beautiful and unique wares from the finest designers and makers in the South.

16 JulWorkshop
Painting in the Walled Garden

Vanessa Bell described the garden at Charleston in the summer as a “dithering blaze of flowers and More

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