A SUBSTANTIAL, and previously unpublished, collection of letters written by various members of the Bloomsbury Group to Helen Anrep (1885-1965) is to be sold by the East Sussex auctioneers Gorringes in Lewes on September 3, along with a collection of artworks by members of the group consigned from the same estate.
The archive was passed down by descent to the present owner. It
contains over 700 letters and postcards, predominantly comprising
autograph letters to Helen Anrep, who was the long-term partner of
the art critic Roger Fry and a confidante for various members of
Gorringes expect the correspondence, which will be sold as one
lot, to realise £50,000-80,000.
Anrep (née Maitland) married the Russian artist Boris Anrep in
1918 and became involved with the Bloomsbury circle in 1924. She
met Fry at a party at Vanessa Bell's studio and afterwards left her
husband to live with Fry until his death in 1934.
Although not an intellectual or artist herself, she had a keen
interest in the arts, provided critical support for Fry's work and
was painted by Duncan Grant at Charleston.
The correspondence contains personal letters to and from Vanessa
Bell, Roger Fry, Augustus John and Virginia Woolf amongst others,
providing an intriguing insight into the complex web of
relationships within the group.
The correspondence, covering the period 1907-1947, but chiefly
1919-1947, ranges from the influence that Helen exerted over Fry's
work and the effect of world events on the group, to the deepest
personal relationships and simple domestic arrangements.
One of the more poignant notes was written by Bell shortly after
the death of her son Julian in the Spanish Civil War in 1924, in
which she writes: "Helen dearest. In case you hear - Julian died
from wounds a few days ago. V."
The 14 artworks from the same estate will be sold as individual
lots and include pieces by Roger Fry and Vanessa Bell as well as
paintings attributed to Henry Lamb and Duncan Grant.
There is also a plaster figure, La Mediterranee by
Aristide Maillol (estimate £4000-6000), which is mentioned in one
of Vanessa Bell's letters to Helen Anrep. As Fry was a devotee of
Maillol, it likely comes from his collection.
By Anna Brady