A Conversation




A Conversation

Date of Production

1913 - 1916


oil on canvas


Height: 86.6 cm (canvas)
Width: 81 cm (canvas)

Accession Number


Mode of Acquisition

Roger Fry Trustees, gift, 1935


The Courtauld, London (Samuel Courtauld Trust)


© Estate of Vanessa Bell. All rights reserved, DACS 2023


On display


Label Text

Three women are shown in earnest conversation before a curtained window through which a flower garden is visible. The arrangement of the bodies and the close grouping of the heads give the gathering a sense of drama and a conspiratorial air. It was this humorous and incisive quality that the author Virginia Woolf admired most about the painting when she praised it in a letter to her sister: "I think you are a most remarkable painter. But I maintain you are into the bargain, a satirist, a conveyer of impressions about human life: a short story writer of great wit and able to bring off a situation in a way that rouses my envy." The painting retains its original frame, painted by Bell.


Gift of the Roger Fry Trustees, 1935

Exhibition History

Vanessa Bell: A Pioneer of Modern Art, The Courtauld Gallery, London, 25/05/2024-06/10/2024

Vanessa Bell (1879-1961), Dulwich Picture Gallery, 08/02/2017-04/06/2017

Virginia Woolf: Art, Life and Vision, National Portrait Gallery, London, 10/07/2014-26/10/2014 ...More

Fabric of Vision, Dress and Drapery in Painting, National Gallery, London, 19/06/2002-08/09/2002

Fitzroy Street Retrospect : Soho painters 1910-1920, Artists' International Association, London, 01/07/1955-29/07/1955 ...Less

Information on this object may be incomplete and will be updated as research progresses. We are particularly committed to addressing any discriminatory or offensive language and ideas that might be present in our records. To help improve this record, please email gallery.collectionsonline@courtauld.ac.ukFind out more about using and licensing our images.


Buy a print from our collection