Francesca Wade

Francesca Wade’s first book, Square Haunting, about the interwar women of Mecklenburgh Square, is out now.

Much of a Scramble: Ray Strachey

Francesca Wade, 23 January 2020

Ray Strachey​ is remembered, if at all, for The Cause, her history of the women’s movement, published in 1928. But reading that book – which is dedicated to Strachey’s friend and mentor Millicent Garrett Fawcett – you wouldn’t know that its writer played a major role in the events described at the end, when an ‘almost religious fervour … sent young...

There were​ high hopes for the son of Percy Bysshe and Mary Shelley, the grandson of William Godwin and Mary Wollstonecraft, but the boy told his mother that all he wanted was a quiet life and a sailing boat. She wasn’t wholly disappointed at his failure to distinguish himself. When it was suggested at school that he needed to learn to think for himself, Mary Shelley said: ‘Oh...

Losing the Plot: Nicola Barker

Francesca Wade, 3 July 2014

Writers​ who appear in their own fiction do so at their peril: it tends to make their characters pretty angry. Made to suffer cancer, Christie Malry warns B.S. Johnson that he will look stupid when they discover a cure, and anyway, ‘you shouldn’t be bloody writing novels about it, you should be out there bloody doing something about it.’ Jonathan Coe drops in to tell...

From The Blog
7 July 2017

In the summer of 1932, Kenneth and Jane Clark visited Duncan Grant’s studio. They found it filled with dusty pottery, ‘unappetising’ faded flowers and ‘brown and purple canvases’ which made Clark’s heart sink. But his despair was stalled by the discovery of some ‘brilliant pastels … where the medium had saved [Grant] from the virtuous application of Bloomsbury mud’, and the ‘beautiful drawings and oil sketches’ which his wife found languishing under Grant’s bed. ‘In an attempt to revive his interest in decorative art,’ he writes in his autobiography, ‘we asked him and Vanessa to paint us a dinner service.’ Two years later, Bell and Grant presented Clark with 140 pieces, including 50 Wedgwood plates illustrated with portraits of famous women from history – 12 writers, 12 queens, 12 beauties and 12 dancers or actresses, and one of each of the artists, painted by the other. ‘It ought to please the feminists,’ Bell wrote, offhandedly, to Roger Fry.

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