Past Events

Statements of artistic identity in Vanessa Bell’s self-portraits

Research Lunch – Hana Leaper

  • 20 November 2015
  • 12:30 – 2:00 pm
  • Seminar Room, Paul Mellon Centre

Vanessa Bell’s good looks, and famous family and friends frequently overshadow her reception as an artist. Throughout her four known, finished, self-portraits, Bell acknowledges these issues, making reference to her heritage, her frequent role as a model, and her position amongst the first generation of professional British women artists. Despite her reputation as a purely formal practitioner, Bell utilized these works to create direct statements about both her artistic and personal identities. Through them she positioned herself in relation to the canon, and insisted on her vocational commitment. Coming at either end of her career, these works can be read in sequence to provide evidence of the fundamental constituents of Bell’s practice, whilst also providing an index of the artist’s development.

Woman sat at easel in an artist studio setting

Vanessa Bell, Self-Portrait at the Easel, 1912

All are welcome! However, places are limited, so if you would like to attend please contact our Events Manager, Ella Fleming on events@paul-mellon-centre.ac.uk

This is a free event and lunch is provided.

About the speaker

  • Dr Hana Leaper was the Paul Mellon Centre Fellow at the Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art for three years between 2014–17. In 2014 she was amongst the first scholars to work on the Angelica Garnett Gift at Charleston. She was subsequently commissioned to contribute catalogue essays for the Vanessa Bell exhibition at Dulwich Picture Gallery in 2017 (‘Between London and Paris’), and for the Virginia Woolf: an exhibition inspired by her writings touring exhibition beginning at Tate St Ives in February 2018 ('From Inheritance to Legacy: Virginia Woolf’s place within networks of women creatives'). She is currently John Moores Painting Prize Senior Lecturer and Development Manager, an embedded post based at Liverpool John Moores University.