Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Meet the Artist: Duncan Grant

("Self Portrait, 1920" by Duncan Grant)

Recently, I came across a series of textiles that all but stopped me in my proverbial tracks, on account of their whimsy and color. The designer, Duncan Grant, was new to me and with a little bit of research, I discovered that he occupied a space in a storied group of literary and art history, the Bloomsbury Group.

Duncan Grant (1885-1978) was a British painter and textile designer who befriended fellow influential Brits such as Lytton Strachey, Vanessa Bell, and perhaps the most notable, Virginia Woolf. Grant's artistic style is best described as post-impressionism, and it often featured deep saturated colors and abstract subject matter.

Grant's talent earned him a role designing elements for the RMS Queen Mary ship in the thirties, which was being constructed at the time. He stated publicly that he had free range over the design of the first class lounge; as a result, he basked in the creative freedom despite the fact that most of his designs were not ultimately used in the Queen Mary.
(Embroidered firescreen, by Duncan Grant)

("Tulips" by Duncan Grant)

("Garden Path in Spring" by Duncan Grant)

("Vanessa Bell" by Duncan Grant)

In addition to dedicating his talent on painting, Grant also delved into the world of textile design during the thirties. You'll see, the prints look modern even today.

(pillows via Blogging Woolf)

("Clouds" print by Duncan Grant)

("Queen Mary" by Duncan Grant)

("Pamela" by Duncan Grant)

Duncan Grant prints, though, are largely unavailable. Personally, I can't understand why they haven't been reissued for modern use. It is hard to believe many date back to the twenties and thirties, isn't it? 

Some of the textiles and reprints of the paintings above are available for sale through Charleston House, a country home and creative refuge for the Bloomsbury Group. The home features murals by Duncan Grant and, as an avid Bloomsbury fan, I hope to visit one day.

What do you think of Duncan Grant's designs?
Would you consider purchasing a few prints if they were reissued?


  1. Very much so! I hadn't heard of him, but would consider his painting called 'Tulips'. I really like the textiles too! Thanks, Ashley for the intro - hope you had a good labor day!

  2. I love the Duncan Grant prints! I hadn't heard of him before and now I love them.

  3. Cool - I like learning about new artists. I really like the pillows!

  4. Thank you for the intro Ashley, I love his artwork and it is truly amazing how "modern" the textiles look even today.

  5. I'd love to see it all in person. His textiles really do look quite modern.


I'd love to hear your thoughts!

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