At the Royal Academy Schools Vanessa Bell was taught by and admired the work of John Singer Sargent.
She was also greatly influenced by Whistler, and in the final pages of this letter to her friend Margery Snowdon she described the influence of his technique on her painting style.
Bell's first commissioned work was a portrait of Lady Robert Cecil. This was also the first work she ever exhibited, at the New Gallery, London, in 1905.
After her marriage in 1907, Bell continued to paint portraits, but with the birth of her son Julian in 1908, her paintings adopted more domestic themes such as still lifes
Photograph of Vanessa Bell painting a portrait of Lady Robert Cecil
© Tate Archive, 2003
Letter from Vanessa Bell
to Margery Snowdon
© Henrietta Garnett.
All rights reserved.