Statements of artistic identity in Vanessa Bell’s self-portraits by Dr. Hana Leaper

by charlestonattic

Former Charleston Attic intern Dr. Hana Leaper will be hosting a research lunch at The Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art this Friday the 20th November. She will be speaking about Vanessa Bell’s self portraiture. Here is the abstract:

Vanessa Bell’s good looks, and famous family and friends frequently overshadow her reception as an artist. Throughout her four known, finished, self-portraits, Bell acknowledges these issues, making reference to her heritage, her frequent role as a model, and her position amongst the first generation of professional British women artists. Despite her reputation as a purely formal practitioner, Bell utilized these works to create direct statements about both her artistic and personal identities. Through them she positioned herself in relation to the canon, and insisted on her vocational commitment. Coming at either end of her career, these works can be read in sequence to provide evidence of the fundamental constituents of Bell’s practice, whilst also providing an index of the artist’s development.

Places are still available. To reserve a place on this free event please contact The Paul Mellon Centre’s Events Manager, Ella Fleming on We hope to see some of you there.

Vanessa Bell Self Portrait bbc your paintingsSelf Portrait by Vanessa Bell, c. 1958. The Charleston Trust. Photograph © BBC Your Paintings