In the summer of 1923 Virginia Woolf’s nephews, Quentin and Julian Bell, founded a family newspaper, The Charleston Bulletin. Quentin decided to ask his aunt Virginia for a contribution: ‘it seemed stupid to have a real author so close to hand and not have her contribute’. They joined forces, and from 1923 stories until 1927 created fully fledged booklets of stories and drawings that were announced as Supplements, Written or dictated by Woolf and illustrated by Quentin, these Supplements present a unique collaboration between the novelist during her most prolific years and the child-painter.
In Virginia Woolf, Quentin Bell found not only a professional author and experience journalist, but, above all, a close companion and conspirator who shared his irreverence and mischievous sense of humour. As David Bradshaw writes in his Preface, the giddy energy of the Supplements perfectly reflects the skimble-skamble milieu of Charleston, the Sussex farmhouse where Vanessa Bell, her two sons Julian and Quentin, her daughter Angelica, Duncan Grant and David Garnett had lived since 1916.
The Supplements are transcribed in full here for the first time alongside around 40 of Bell’s original illustrations. They describe the escapades of family of family members, household servants and associates of the Bloomsbury Group, and no-one escapes the sharp wit and satire of aunt and nephew. In the Supplements family history, farmhouse mythology and all manner of Bloomsbury tittle-tattle are turned into humorous copy by the Group’s most keen-eyed and irreverent chronicler. This is the first time the Supplements have been published since they were written and will therefore be welcomed by fans of Woolf and her circle.
The British Library