A Musing: Bloomsbury Needlepoint

Sometimes my obsessions converge so spectacularly that I can’t quite believe what I’m seeing is real.


When I was researching . . . who even remembers! . . . I ran into this (enormous, hardback, gorgeous) used book for $3.95. Gulp. A book of needlepoint patterns from Charleston Farmhouse, with charts of designs by Duncan Grant, Vanessa Bell, and Roger Fry. There is even a small case of mysterious origin that the author strongly feels was designed by Virginia Woolf for her pen (another gulp). These designs are a riot of color and pattern, and very Modern. No needlepoint cabbage roses will be found on these pages.

The book not only contains patterns, but loads of information on the denizens of Charleston (right down to what books graced Clive Bell’s shelves), The Omega Workshop, the house, and the gardens.


The photography of the rooms and art is exquisite.


I even had the Best Used Book Magic happen with this one – yellowing cuttings from the New York Times about a Duncan Grant exhibit and Quentin Bell’s obituary.


What an incredible treasure! What an incredible inspiration. The best $3.95 I’ve ever spent.

images: 1. Cover, detail of the painting Charleston Garden by Vanessa Bell. 2. The desk in Vanessa Bell’s bedroom. You can see her needlepoint covered ink blotter, and that pen case! I think this will be the first thing I make from the book! 3. Silhouette paintings by Duncan Grant. You can also see part of the door going to Duncan Grant’s bedroom painted by Vanessa Bell. 4. The newspaper clippings ❤


  1. kaggsysbookishramblings

    What a gorgeous book! I was lucky enough to visit Charleston once, many moons ago – alas, my memory is so bad I can remember little about the day, except it was sunny and the gardens were lovely!

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