Exhibited: Folio Fine Art, “Vanessa Bell Drawings and Designs,” 1967; Santa Barbara Museum of Art, British Painting, 1982 1/19–8/14 1982, Santa Barbara Museum of Art, Diverse Directions, 1988 12/12/87–2/7/88
Literature: Llewellyn, Sacha, et al. Women Only Works on Paper. Liss Llewellyn, 2021, p. 43.
This work was described as a design for a ceramic tile when it was first exhibited at the Folio Fine Art
Ltd., London, in 1967. It was likely produced for the potter, Phyllis Keyes, whom Vanessa Bell met in 1931.
Keyes had a workshop in Warren Street, and supplied Bell and Duncan Grant with a variety of tiles, pots,
jugs and vases, either thrown by her or cast from designs that the artists provided. These ceramics then
often featured in decorative schemes completed by the Bloomsbury artists.
The simplicity of this tile design reduces the artist’s style almost to its essence. Robert Travers observes
that while Bell’s oil paintings after the end of the First World War became increasingly built-up, saturated
and developed, her decorative work inherited the freedom of line, colour and abstract composition
which she pursued so fruitfully between 1910 and 1918′.