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Guide to the Virginia Woolf's Oak Writing Desk, approximately 1911

Summary

Writing desk at which one would stand, designed and owned by Virginia Woolf. The sloping top of the desk features a central panel in two pieces, with hinges at the top. The panel lifts to reveal a storage compartment underneath.Two drawers are located below the storage area, one on each side of the desk. There are metal pulls on each drawer. The left-hand drawer pull surrounds a flower medalion; the medalion on the right-hand drawer is missing. The drawers and desk top each feature a metal lock, but no keys are present. Quentin Bell painted the figure of Cleo holding a trumpet on the top of the desk. He painted the rest of the desk, except the back, in grays with black accents. There are random spatters of paint present on all surfaces.

Collection Details

Collection Number
RL.11122
Title
Virginia Woolf's oak writing desk
Date
approximately 1911
Extent
2.5 Linear Feet, 67.4 x 126 x 87.7 cm; 26.5 x 49.5 x 34.5 inches
Repository
David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library
Language
Materials in English

Collection Overview

Writing desk at which one would stand, designed and owned by Virginia Woolf. The sloping top of the desk features a central panel in two pieces, with hinges at the top. The panel lifts to reveal a storage compartment underneath.Two drawers are located below the storage area, one on each side of the desk. There are metal pulls on each drawer. The left-hand drawer pull surrounds a flower medalion; the medalion on the right-hand drawer is missing. The drawers and desk top each feature a metal lock, but no keys are present. Quentin Bell painted the figure of Cleo holding a trumpet on the top of the desk. He painted the rest of the desk, except the back, in grays with black accents. There are random spatters of paint present on all surfaces.

More Biographical / Historical Info

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More copyright and citation information

How to Cite

Virginia Woolf's oak writing desk, David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Duke University.

Contents of the Collection

Writing desk
Object 1
 

Historical Note

Virginia Woolf was an English writer and one of the foremost modernists of the twentieth century.


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Provenance

The Virginia Woolf's oak writing desk were received by the David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library as a purchase in 2015.

Processing Information

Processed by Alice Poffinberger, February 2016

Other Notes

The desk was designed and ordered by Virginia Woolf about 1911 and moved first to Asheham, then to Monks House at Rodmell. In 1929, she offered the desk to her nephew, Quentin Bell, who took it to Charleston, the home of his parents, Vanessa and Clive Bell. Bell painted the figure of Cleo holding a trumpet on the top of the desk at that time. At some later date, his wife, Olivier Bell, shortened the desk's legs by six inches. They sold the desk in a Sotheby sale to aid Charleston in 1980.