Curated by Cressida Bell | 6 March – 26 August 2019, Wolfson Gallery

Opening on 6 March, Charleston’s second exhibition in the new Wolfson Gallery positions the work of former Charleston residents – Vanessa Bell (1879–1961) and Duncan Grant (1885–1978) – within a century of great British colourists.

Curated by London-based textile designer, Cressida Bell, granddaughter of artist Vanessa Bell, the exhibition will feature a broad-ranging and highly personal selection of works that reflect Cressida Bell’s personal aesthetic as well as her artistic heritage.

Bell and Grant were two of the first abstract painters in Britain, but even when creating figurative and representational work, the abstract qualities of colour remained a dominant element. Drawing on loans from private and public collections, the show will feature works by some of the greatest painters of the last century including; Eileen Agar, Robert Bevan, Francis Cadell, Patrick Caulfield, Robert Dukes, Mary Fedden, Mark Gertler, Patrick Heron, John Hoyland, Stanislawa de Karlowska, Paul Nash, Glyn Warren Philpot and Sean Scully.

Mark Gertler, Portrait of a Girl 1912. © Tate, London 2019

Robert Bevan, Morning over the Ploughed Fields. c.1904 © Tate, London 2019

Vanessa Bell, The Pond at Charleston © Estate of Vanessa Bell courtesy of Henrietta Garnett Courtesy The Charleston Trust








































Virginia Woolf called her sister Vanessa Bell “a poet whose medium was colour.” The Bloomsbury group’s modernist treatment of colour broke with accepted artistic conventions of the day. The freedom of abstraction allowed Bell and Grant to play with colour and shape in new ways; their paintings typical of the 20th century move towards colour dominating composition. This abstract idiom provides a new context for examining the painting of the Bloomsbury group, as radical painters who saw colour as the most vital component of an image.

Cressida Bell says: ‘My personal sense of colour has inevitably been influenced by being brought up in a Bloomsbury environment. The house at Charleston is a joyous celebration of colour, using a palette that manages to be both vibrant and subtle. My selection of works for this show attempt to reflect this aesthetic. I have chosen works where the most fundamental factor in the composition is colour and where a scheme of colours is imposed on the painting, rather than occurring naturally in the subject.’



6 March – 26 August 2019, South and Spotlight Galleries

Philip Hughes, South Downs Way: Due West acrylic on paper, 2017















Artist Philip Hughes has walked the landscape of the British Isles tracing ancient tracks. From his London studio, he then transforms his sketches into largescale works painting mainly in acrylic on paper, board and canvas.

Land will be devoted to two landscapes: The South Downs in East Sussex between the Cuckmere and Ouse Valleys, and West Penwith in Cornwall – both popular walking locations for Virginia Woolf. Hughes’ work is centred on the land, its structure, and the intervention of man from ancient cultures to the present. His prime source is drawing directly in the landscape, complimented by the use of maps and aerial images.

Included in the exhibition are recent works created especially for Charleston seen side by side with earlier works including a number of abstract pieces, often in response to a landscape. Alongside the paintings will be drawings and maps – exploring several views of the same landmark.

Charleston’s Spotlight Gallery will exhibit drawings and maps used by Hughes in the creation of his final paintings, showing the creative process by which the artist creates works so related to his experience of the landscape.

What's on

10 AugTalk
My Life in Colour

CRESSIDA BELL talks to her sister, Virginia Nicholson, about Charleston, her design work and curating ‘In Colour.’

12 AugWorkshop
Colour theory and mixing

Explore colour observation mixing and creating a sense of light in Oils with Tom Benjamin Vanessa More

13 AugWorkshop
Woodcut Printmaking

Learn the processes of woodcut printmaking, with tutor Helen Brown, from design to carving, inking to printing. More

17 Aug - 18 Aug

Enter a labyrinth of colour, light and music at Charleston this summer! Explore countless interlinked rainbow chambers with extraordinary light and colour experiences.

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