Post-Impressionist Living: The Omega Workshops

Past Exhibition |14 September 2019 – 19 January 2020

★★★★ ‘fascinating…timely, absorbing’ – The Telegraph

100 years after the Omega Workshops closed their doors in the heart of bohemian London, this major exhibition explored their radical approach to interior design that brought abstract shapes and bold colours from modern art into the home.

Established by the painter and art critic Roger Fry in 1913 with Charleston’s Vanessa Bell and Duncan Grant as co-directors, the Omega Workshops were a design collective that included many of the most avant-garde artists of the day. Inspired by the new, vital spirit of Post-Impressionism they designed thrillingly bold, playful and inventive items for the home – from printed fabrics and textiles to ceramics, furniture and clothing.

“it is time that the spirit of fun was introduced into furniture and into fabrics. We have suffered too long from the dull and the stupidly serious” – Roger Fry

As the former home of artists Vanessa Bell and Duncan Grant, Charleston was a fitting setting for the exhibition. The House’s playfully painted interiors, brightly decorated furniture and embroideries make it the living embodiment of a Post-Impressionist inspired home. When Bell and Grant moved to Charleston in October 1916 they brought an array of Omega objects with them, and the exhibition will also include the tableware the Bloomsbury group ate with and the chairs they sat on. 

Post-Impressionist Living: The Omega Workshops presented the largest collection of Omega objects in more than 30 years and traced the Workshops’ philosophy and beginnings through to their pioneering experiments in interior design that still resonate today.


With generous loans from the V&A


Exhibition highlights

Banner image: opening room of the Omega Workshops, 33 Fitzroy Square, London © The Charleston Trust.

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