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I took advantage of the National Portrait Gallery‘s late opening on Fridays to visit the Virginia Woolf: Art, Life and Vision exhibition. The exhibition, which runs until 26 October, looks at the acclaimed 20th century writer’s life and work through the mediums of photography, painting, illustration and archival material.

The exhibition begins with a display of Woolf’s diaries, rescued from her bombed-out house. They are shown alongside images of Woolf in the house at Tavistock Square before it was destroyed in the Blitz. There are several pictures of family members, many of them photographs by Julia Margaret Cameron, and many images of eminent men of art and letters who were family friends when Virginia was young.

Other pictures show the writer in the early days of her marriage to Leonard Woolf, as well as the other members of the Bloomsbury Group, including the artists Roger Fry and Vanessa Bell. The exhibition also explores the founding of the Hogarth Press in Hogarth House, Richmond, and Woolf’s relationship with Vita Sackville-West, as well as her suicide in 1941.

This is an interesting exhibition that explores not just the life of Virginia Woolf but the life of those around her, whether family, friends or other significant figures. A definite must-see for fans of her work.

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