• 12 September 2018

With the deadline for the Autumn-round of Paul Mellon Centre Grants and Fellowships fast approaching (applications close on 30 September), it is a good time to reflect on projects that we have funded in the past and see what creative and inspiring work has been realised. Last week, Mark Hallett (the PMC's Director) and I visited Charleston, the farmhouse near Lewes in Sussex, that in 1916 became the countryside home and studio for Vanessa Bell, Duncan Grant and other artists and writers associated with the Bloomsbury Group.

In 2012, the PMC awarded the Charleston Trust a three-year Curatorial Research Grant that funded Curatorial Interns to research and catalogue the Angela Garnett Gift. This offered a training programme for recent art history graduates to catalogue, photograph and publish this important collection online. This work was part of the much larger Centenary Project at Charleston -- the results of which have just opened to the public this weekend. Architect Jamie Fobert, along with conservation specialists Julian Harrap Architects, have sensitively converted the historic barns at Charleston into a set of new galleries, a cafe, an auditorium and education spaces.

Nestled under the protective, ancient bulk of the South Downs, the particular quiet charm of Charleston remains the same, but there is also the sense of change and an eye on the future. The Centenary Project aims to emphasise the contemporary relevance of the work of the Bloomsbury Group in the twenty-first century and the continued importance of many of their ideas, including pacifism, sexual orientation and new ways of living together in communities. We were delighted to join colleagues at The Charleston Trust to celebrate this landmark in its history and explore the glorious new spaces that will only enhance the Trust's work.

About the author

  • Sarah Victoria Turner - Director at the Paul Mellon Centre