Quentin Bell

Fonds number:
Title: Quentin Bell
Dates of Material:
1955-1991, predominant 1972-1991
2 cm of textual records
Biographical sketch

Quentin Bell was an author, artist, critic and biographer of his aunt, Virginia Woolf. He was born in London in 1910, to Clive and Vanessa Bell, who was Woolf’s sister; his parents separated when he was six. He studied art in Paris before mounting his first exhibition, and in 1947 published his first book, On Human Finery. Bell went on to publish more non-fiction books, as well as a novel. During his career he was a lecturer in art education at King’s College, Newcastle, and a professor of fine art at Oxford and the University of Leeds; he was also chair of history and theory of art at the University of Sussex. He received much acclaim when his biography of Virginia Woolf was published in 1972; and in 1996, the year of his death, his memoir Bloomsbury Recalled was hailed as a significant contribution to the history of that creative group. Bell was survived by his wife Anne Olivier Bell, and three children.

Scope and content

Fonds consists of letters, postcards and an invitation from Bell to Simon Watney, 1972–1991, regarding publishing, finances, artistic matters and other topics. Also includes two letters from Anne Olivier Bell to Watney. Fonds also includes a letter written by Bell to Marjorie Milburn, an English painter and water-colourist who studied with Bell for her Art Teacher's Diploma in Newcastle.

Source of supplied title

Title based on contents of the fonds.

Immediate source of acquisition

Records purchased from dealer Peter Grogan in May 2009.

The letter in accession 2019.06 was donated to Victoria University Library by Robin Arnfield in June 2019.

Access restrictions

Restrictions on access: No restrictions on access.

Finding aids

Box/file list available


Further accruals are expected.

Access points

Provenance access points:
Bell, Quentin
Bell, Anne Olivier


Bloomsbury Group