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Friday, 24 December 2010

Stephen Tomlin and Virginia Woolf

In July 1931 Stephen Tomlin began working on a bust of Virginia Woolf. Her biographer, Hermione Lee, argued that being sculpted by Tomlin "made her think of herself as an image, a thing: she hated it, even more than sitting for her portrait." Quentin Bell added: "For somehow Virginia managed to forget, in agreeing to the proposal, that the sculptor must inevitably wish to look at his sitter and Virginia should have recollected that one of the things she most disliked in life was being peered at. A very few friends had been allowed to make pictures; some were made by stealth." Despite this, Bell believes that it was a successful work of art: "It is not flattering. It makes Virginia look older and fiercer than she was, but it has a force, a life, a truth, which his other works (those I have seen) do not possess."

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