100 years ago this month, May 1914…

Vanessa Bell, about to turn 35, is in Paris for the opening of a new staging of Twelfth Night [La Nuit des Rois], by Jacques Copeau, also 34, with costumes by her fellow Bloomsbury painter Duncan Grant, 29. Her husband, art critic Clive Bell, 33, is also along for the trip. The visiting Bloomsberries take advantage of the opportunity to see the art collection of American ex-patriates Michael, 49, and Sarah Stein, 43, at their flat on rue Madame. In turn they introduce the Brits to Henri Matisse, 44.

Michael’s sister, Gertrude Stein, 40, takes Duncan to meet her favourite of the Paris artists, Pablo Picasso, 32, in his studio. Duncan notices that the Spaniard is experimenting with papier-colle, and volunteers to bring him some wallpaper rolls he has found in his hotel room, altho Picasso protests that this amounts to stealing. Duncan later writes to Clive about the upcoming return visit,

‘I shall find it difficult to know what to say…’

Copeau’s minimalist version of Twelfth Night is a big hit, and reviewers single out Duncan’s costume designs as

‘enchanting, gay and reposeful…[but]…inappropriate to the play.’

Here is a piece of fabric designed by Vanessa the year before for the Omega Workshops, which Duncan used in one of the costumes for the play:

Maud by Vanessa Bell (1913)

Maud by Vanessa Bell (1913)

And here is the Facebook page for the Abbey Theatre’s production of Twelfth Night which is running until the end of this month: https://www.facebook.com/abbeytheatredublin?fref=nf

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