The Bloomsbury Set

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We take a look back at the Bloomsbury set - a group of thinkers, writers and artists who shunned Victorian conventions to live a unique Bohemian lifestyle.

Just before the First World War erupted, a bohemian group sprang into being in the West Central 1 district of London known as Bloomsbury. Headed up by novelist Virginia Woolf, the 'Bloomsbury Set' was a group of radical artists, art critics and writers, who banished conservative Victorian values, and carved out a fresh existence that was dedicated to art and intellect.

The 'Bloomsberries' were a small set, centred largely around novelist Virginia Woolf. Other members included the critics Roger Fry and Clive Bell, and the modernist painters Vanessa Bell (Virginia's sister) and Duncan Grant. Mostly from upper middle-class professional families, the set met at Cambridge University and socialised in Bloomsbury, London, where Vanessa established The Friday Club, an exhibiting society for the group to discuss their work and ideas.

Decades before the free love values of the Swinging Sixties, the groundbreaking Bloomsbury Set were celebrating lesbianism and bi-sexuality, and having multiple love affairs! Keen to be modern and daring in all areas of their lives, and it's no surprise that they were regarded as utterly scandalous in the eyes of the public and quickly achieved a notorious reputation.

Like their radical ideas, their style also followed suit, with the members sporting a look that can only be described as Aristo-English meets bohemia - think printed dresses and cardigans, teamed with free-spirited accessories including headscarves, long loops of beads and pearls and round-toed chunky heels. Although the group only lasted until the outbreak of the Second World War, it holds a place in the history books for its groundbreaking ideas and keen eye for style!