This bold portrait is a testament to Grant’s role as a formidable force in the development of modern British art. Loyal to the post-impressionist style that had inspired him in his youth and brought him into the Bloomsbury group, the background of the present work is built from a flurry of quick yet thoughtfully placed brushstrokes of vibrant blues interlaced with dashes of white and deep purple. Richard Shone befittingly interprets Grant’s style; ‘his portraits present us with an extraordinarily solid world, comfortable and quiet, an air of scholarly reflection enveloping his figures.’[1]

Born in Scotland and brought up in India, Grant set up his own studio in Fitzroy Square in 1910, having followed the advice of French painter Simon Bussy to take up painting. Grant’s new style of painting was first to manifest itself in the works that he submitted to the 1910 exhibition of Post-Impressionist artworks that was organised by critic, Roger Fry. This cemented Grant’s status...

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This bold portrait is a testament to Grant’s role as a formidable force in the development of modern British art. Loyal to the post-impressionist style that had inspired him in his youth and brought him into the Bloomsbury group, the background of the present work is built from a flurry of quick yet thoughtfully placed brushstrokes of vibrant blues interlaced with dashes of white and deep purple. Richard Shone befittingly interprets Grant’s style; ‘his portraits present us with an extraordinarily solid world, comfortable and quiet, an air of scholarly reflection enveloping his figures.’[1]

Born in Scotland and brought up in India, Grant set up his own studio in Fitzroy Square in 1910, having followed the advice of French painter Simon Bussy to take up painting. Grant’s new style of painting was first to manifest itself in the works that he submitted to the 1910 exhibition of Post-Impressionist artworks that was organised by critic, Roger Fry. This cemented Grant’s status as one of the central figures of the Bloomsbury Group of intellectuals and cultural figures. Grant, who like many of the Group’s members led a Bohemian existence, conducted relationships – both heterosexual and homosexual – with several fellow members of the Bloomsbury set, including Strachey, economist John Maynard Keynes – whose rooms at Cambridge Grant decorated – and fellow artist, Vanessa Bell, with whom Grant pursued an unconventional but intimate and long-lasting relationship. With Bell, Grant worked in the Omega Workshops that were established by Fry in 1913 and whose aim was to incorporate Post-Impressionist developments in painting to the decorative arts. Significantly, the Omega Workshops were an experimental design collective, aiming to dissolve the barrier between the fine and decorative arts, bringing them together through boldly patterned rugs, linen, furniture and ceramics.


[1] R. Shone, Bloomsbury Portraits (Oxford: Phaidon, 1976).

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500 Years of British Art