Vanessa Bell: © Estate of Vanessa Bell, courtesy of Henrietta Garnett. Except as otherwise permitted by your national copyright laws this material may not be copied or distributed further.
Image: © Victoria and Albert Museum, London. Except as otherwise permitted by your national copyright laws this material may not be copied or distributed further.
This is the book jacket for the first edition of The Years, Virginia Woolf’s 1937 novel and the last published in her lifetime. It was designed by Vanessa Bell, Woolf’s sister.
The illustration shows a rose – perhaps a symbol for the youngest Partiger daughter and suffragette, named Rose – against a background of three overlapping circles. The border is made from cross-hatches and circles, two of the artist’s characteristic motifs. Like many of Bell’s designs for Woolf, it is an abstract interpretation of the work in question. Generally, Bell did not read the text before she began her artwork.
Designing book covers and illustrations, Bell was a frequent collaborator at the Woolfs’ publishing house, the Hogarth Press. Bell created cover designs for all of Virginia Woolf’s works except her first novel.
This jacket belongs to the British Library collection of dust jackets.