Virginia Woolf’s Snapshots Of Life At Monk’s House

"We were full of experiments and reforms. We were going to paint; to write; everything was going to be new; everything was going to be different; everything was on trial" - Virginia Woolf

VirginiaWoolf, Leonard Woolf, Monk's house, photos

 

Virginia Woolf’s 17th Century Monk’s House home in Rodmell, East Sussex, was the author and her husband Leonard’s permanent home from 1919, when they bought the place for £700, until her death by suicide in 1941. Leonard buried her ashes beneath an elm in Monk’s House lavish garden – the garden in which the couple built a writing room out of a wooden toolshed below a loft. We can glimpse life as it was through Woolf’s photo albums, aka The Monk’s House albums, in which we see images of Woolf’s family and friends, including fellow Bloomsbury group faces such as E.M. Forster, Julian Bell, Quentin Bell, Dora de Houghton Carrington, Forster, Roger Eliot Fry, Angelica Garnett, Duncan Grant, Ralph Partridge and Lytton Strachey.

These images are from the album labelled ‘Monk’s House 4,’ dated 1939. There are six album in all, recording Virginia Woolf’s life from 1890 to 1947.

Woolf, Virginia

Roger Eliot Fry : portrait by Lenare (Studio), undated. 1 photographs gelatin silver print ; 31 x 25 centimeters.
Stamped on verso: “Photograph by Lenare,” 28 George Street, Hanover Square, W.1.

VirginiaWoolf, Leonard Woolf, Monk's house, photos

Lady Baldwin’s Audience : clipping from News Chronicle, 5 May 1938.
Date: 1938.
Newspaper clipping regarding Lady Baldwin addressing wives and mothers about the formation of babies’ welfare clubs.
Location: Album IV, page 2.
Lady Baldwin’s Audience : clipping from News Chronicle, 5 May 1938.

VirginiaWoolf, Leonard Woolf, Monk's house, photos

Lytton Strachey standing in front of 10 Gower Street, the home of the Morrells, undated.
Below: Dora de Houghton Carrington, Ralph Partridge and Lytton Strachey reading outdoors. Possibly Ham Spray House, Marlborough (England), 1930.

VirginiaWoolf, Leonard Woolf, Monk's house, photos

Clockwise from top left:Close up of Lytton Strachey reading in a chair. Possibly Ham Spray House, Marlborough (England), undated. Lytton Strachey leaning out of a window. Possibly Ham Spray House, Marlborough (England), undated. Ralph Partridge, Dora de Houghton Carrington and Lytton Strachey sitting on the porch with refreshments. Possibly Ham Spray House, Marlborough (England), undated. Lytton Strachey leaning out a second floor window. Possibly Ham Spray House, Marlborough (England), undated

VirginiaWoolf, Leonard Woolf, Monk's house, photos

ally the dog napping in an armchair, undated. Two unidentified men digging a grave in the snow. Possibly Rodmell cemetery, undated. View of trees and a snowy lawn. Monk’s House (Rodmell, England), undated.

VirginiaWoolf, Leonard Woolf, Monk's house, photos

oor in winter at Monk’s House (Rodmell, England), undated. Garden in winter. Monk’s House (Rodmell, England), undated.

VirginiaWoolf, Leonard Woolf, Monk's house, photos

Scenic view of a castle. Possibly Brittany (France), undated.

VirginiaWoolf, Leonard Woolf, Monk's house, photos

. Unidentified men on sailboats in the harbor. Douarnenez (France), undated. Carnac stones. Carnac (France), undated.

VirginiaWoolf, Leonard Woolf, Monk's house, photos

VirginiaWoolf, Leonard Woolf, Monk's house, photos

Virginia Woolf and Leonard Woolf sitting with a dog. Tavistock Square, Bloomsbury (London, England), 1939.

VirginiaWoolf, Leonard Woolf, Monk's house, photos

Studio portrait of Julian Bell, undated. 1 photographs gelatin silver print ; 27 x 19 centimeters.
Photographer: Lettice Ramsey.

VirginiaWoolf, Leonard Woolf, Monk's house, photos

Studio portrait of Quentin Bell, undated.

VirginiaWoolf, Leonard Woolf, Monk's house, photos

Stephen Spender, Duncan Grant, M. Longman? and Angelica Garnett bowling on the lawn. Monk’s House (Rodmell, England), 1939

VirginiaWoolf, Leonard Woolf, Monk's house, photos

VirginiaWoolf, Leonard Woolf, Monk's house, photos

Judith Stephen and Leslie Humphrey standing by a bust in the garden. Monk’s House (Rodmell, England), undated. E.M. (Edward Morgan) Forster sitting in an armchair with bookshelf in the background. Possibly Monk’s House (Rodmell, England), undated

VirginiaWoolf, Leonard Woolf, Monk's house, photos

Molly Sturgeon sitting in an armchair with bookshelf in the background. Possibly Monk’s House (Rodmell, England), undated.

VirginiaWoolf, Leonard Woolf, Monk's house, photos

rofile of E.M. (Edward Morgan) Forster sitting in an armchair with bookshelf in the background. Possibly Monk’s House (Rodmell, England), undated. Flora Sturgeon possibly indoors at Monk’s House (Rodmell, England), undated.

VirginiaWoolf, Leonard Woolf, Monk's house, photos

Desmond MacCarthy and George Moore standing in the garden by a statue. Monk’s House (Rodmell, England), undated.

VirginiaWoolf, Leonard Woolf, Monk's house, photos

Adrian Stephen and Karin Stephen sitting outdoors.Judith Stephen bowling on a lawn, possibly with Quentin Bell.

VirginiaWoolf, Leonard Woolf, Monk's house, photos

Miss Griffiths [surname] among the flowers in the garden.

VirginiaWoolf, Leonard Woolf, Monk's house, photos

Adrian Stephen, Karin Stephen, Judith Stephen, Leslie Humphrey, Angelica Garnett and an unidentified woman on the lawn. Monk’s House (Rodmell, England), undated.

 

VirginiaWoolf, Leonard Woolf, Monk's house, photos VirginiaWoolf, Leonard Woolf, Monk's house, photos VirginiaWoolf, Leonard Woolf, Monk's house, photos VirginiaWoolf, Leonard Woolf, Monk's house, photos VirginiaWoolf, Leonard Woolf, Monk's house, photos VirginiaWoolf, Leonard Woolf, Monk's house, photos VirginiaWoolf, Leonard Woolf, Monk's house, photos

VirginiaWoolf, Leonard Woolf, Monk's house, photos

Lytton Strachey, Virginia Woolf, and G. Lowes (Goldsworthy Lowes) Dickinson sitting outdoors at the home of Lady Ottoline Violet Anne Cavendish-Bentinck Morrell, 1923.
Below: Marjorie Strachey and Lytton Strachey playing chess outdoors, undated. 1 photographs gelatin silver print ; 9 x 14 centimeters.
Inscription: Marjorie Strachey / Lytton.
On verso: 1931.

VirginiaWoolf, Leonard Woolf, Monk's house, photos VirginiaWoolf, Leonard Woolf, Monk's house, photos

VirginiaWoolf, Leonard Woolf, Monk's house, photos

Sophia Farrell, the family cook, standing outdoors holding a pot, 1890.

VirginiaWoolf, Leonard Woolf, Monk's house, photos

 

Via: The Houghton Library, Harvard University. You can see all six albums here.

Virginia Woolf Monk’s House photograph album, MH-1
Virginia Woolf Monk’s House photograph album, MH-2
Virginia Woolf Monk’s House photograph album, MH-3
Virginia Woolf Monk’s House photograph album, MH-4
Virginia Woolf Monk’s House photograph album, MH-5
Virginia Woolf Monk’s House photograph album, MH-6