Charleston Shows Unseen Bloomsbury Works at LAF

The studio at Charleston. Photography - Lee Robbins

London Art Fair has partnered with Charleston, the modernist home and studio of painters Vanessa Bell and Duncan Grant, for its annual Museum Partnership. At the Fair, Charleston will launch ’50 for 50’ – an ambitious search for 50 of the most significant Bloomsbury group artist paintings still held in private collections.

Vanessa Bell, The Cloak, 1912. Oil on canvas. Private collection. Copyright the estate of Vanessa Bell. Courtesy of DACS 2024

Charleston, situated in the South Downs National Park, was the regular meeting place of some of the 20th Century’s most radical artists, writers and thinkers, known collectively as the Bloomsbury Group. It is where they came together to imagine society differently and has always been a place where art and experimental thinking are at the centre of everyday life. Today Charleston welcomes over 65,000 visitors to its house, garden and galleries at Firle – the location for a year-round programme of festivals, events and exhibitions – and has recently opened a new space in central Lewes.


In 2030 Charleston is set to celebrate 50 years since the charity was set up to safeguard the historic house and its collection and with that they have announced their ‘50 for 50’ initiative.

The launch of ‘50 for 50’ will unveil a selection of secured artworks, alongside some of the most significant pieces from its collection. These include ‘The Cloak’ by Vanessa Bell, a painting from 1912 originally exhibited in Paris; a study featuring Charleston farm buildings by Duncan Grant; a rare and newly conserved work by French artist Simon Bussy of Mansion House, c.1902; all of which have never been on public display before. These artworks will be exhibited alongside a selection of ceramics and furniture from Omega Workshops, an artistic interiors firm
spearheaded by three members of the Bloomsbury Group, established in 1913, as well as an embroidered fire screen by Duncan Grant.

Roger Fry, Portrait of E.M. Forster, 1911. Oil on canvas, private collection

Nathaniel Hepburn, Charleston Director, says: “We’re thrilled to be able to launch ‘50 for 50’ at the London Art Fair as this year’s Museum Partner. The hope is that through generous gifts and legacies these important and unique objects will join what is already the largest collection of Bloomsbury group artworks worldwide. It’s exciting to be able to showcase never-before-seen artworks at the London Art Fair for the public to discover as part of our exhibition.”


First introduced in 2014 to champion and support important regional collections, London Art Fair’s annual Museum Partnership has seen collaborations with the Hepworth Wakefield, Pallant House Gallery, Jerwood Gallery, The Lightbox, Towner Art Gallery, Southampton City Art Gallery, The Women’s Art Collection, and most recently Ben Uri Gallery.

Duncan Grant, Angus Davidson, 1922. Oil on canvas, private collection. Copyright the estate of Duncan Grant, courtesy of DACS 2024

The full Charleston collection on display at London Art Fair can also be viewed via the Bloomberg Connects app. For more information about ‘50 for 50’ and how to get involved, visit

LONDON ART FAIR – 17-21 January 2024
Business Design Centre, 52 Upper Street, Islington, London, N1 0QH
Full ticket types and prices at:
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See also: 2024 at Hastings Contemporary

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