Vanessa Bell (1879-1961) was an English painter and interior designer and a member of the Bloomsbury group.
She was born Vanessa Stephen, a daughter of Sir Leslie Stephen and the elder sister of Virginia, who later became better known as the novelist, Virginia Woolf. After the deaths of their parents, the sisters lived in the Bloomsbury district of London, where they came into contact with those who would become their set. Vanessa studied art under Sir Arthur Cope and, after his death, at the Royal Academy Schools.
In 1907 she married within the Bloomsbury Group with Clive Bell. They had two sons early in their marriage, but by the First World War the fizz of their marriage had disappeared, Vanessa carrying on with the homosexual painter Duncan Grant. Vannessa, Duncan and Duncan's thentime lover David Garnett moved to the country shortly before the outbreak of the war, a few years later ending up in Charleston, while Duncan and David (as conscientious objectors) had to work on the land to escape being called under arms.
Eventually, Christmas 1918 she gave birth to Duncan's daughter Angelica, who was later to marry his erstwhile lover David Garnett.
Like Duncan Grant, Vanessa contributed to the Omega Workshops established by Roger Fry. After the First World War, she became a member of the London Group.
Vanessa's eldest son Julian died in the Spanish Civil War in 1937.
All throughout her life her relation with Clive remained amicable, while with Duncan she formed primarily an artistic tandem, painting in the same (or adjacent) studio('s), commenting each other's works.