Tea and Cake with the Bloomsbury Group

There are many things I love in life, those little luxuries that never fail to make me smile. Very high on my list of favourite things are tea sets, cake, history and visiting beautiful places. This probably explains why I love all things National Trust so much! Whenever I visit a National Trust property I always have a good look round the gift shop. The girls will often get a little treat and I sometimes pick up something nice for myself.

The National Trust shop have a team of in-house designers. They create beautiful prints inspired by the many beautiful places in the Trusts care. One of my favourite recent ones, was inspired by West Wittering. My grandparents had a beach hut there when I was little and the print brought back fond memories.

The latest addition to their lovely range of designs is Bohemian Circles, inspired by the Bloomsbury Group and Virginia Woolf’s former home Monk’s House, which is in the care of the Nation Trust today.

Here’s a little back ground on the Bloomsbury set:

The Bloomsbury Group were a circle of friends, writers and artists who created new ideas for art and literature. They lived in the Bloomsbury area of London, and met, lived and loved together from 1904 until the 1930s. They believed creativity and beauty were central to life and they created and enjoyed vibrant and radical art.

You may have heard of their names as their influence is still important a century later. Roger Fry inspired them to embrace modern art, and when now famous artists such as Cézanne and Gauguin were hardly know in Britain, he and Clive Bell introduced them to the public. This appreciation of new art inspired their Bloomsbury friends. Vanessa Bell created paintings full of gorgeous bright colour.

Her sister, Virginia Woolf pioneered new forms of writing in novels such as Mrs. Dalloway. Virginia’s novel Orlando was inspired by Vita Sackville-West and her vast house, Knole, now cared for by the National Trust. Vanessa’s many talents included design, and she created the covers for Virginia’s novels published by the Hogarth Press. Virginia ran the press with her husband Leonard Woolf, and they lived together at Monk’s House, now also cared for by the National Trust.

Virginia’s companion, Duncan Grant, shared her talent for art and design, creating everything from paintings to textile designs for the Bloomsbury run design company, the Omega Workshops. Other members of the group excelled in their chosen areas, whether it was Lytton Strachey’s radical biographies and critical writings, or John Maynard Keynes economic theory. (above picture – the living room at Monks House)

It is remarkable that this small circle of friends contained so many talented people, whose work still seems vibrant, fresh and radical today. Their relationships now seem as forward-thinking as their art, and can still seem a bit unconventional to us today. They believed people should be free to live and love as they chose. Above all, when we visit a garden like Sissinghurst, read a novel by Virginia or enjoy a beautiful painting by Vanessa, we can still feel the love, beauty and pleasure they brought to their life and their art.

I love that the new range pays homage to so much talent and history, as well as being very pretty. The kitchen and tableware range features a bold, yet chalky colour palette, reflecting colours the Bloomsbury Group artists used most frequently. Including a particular shade of green, based on the distinctive colour Virginia used to paint her sitting room walls.

~Every penny of profit from sales of the range, goes to support The National Trust, who protect and conserve hundreds of beautiful buildings and places, so that we can enjoy them. These would make amazing gifts, for Christmas, a new home or a wedding, or just something special for yourself.

The National Trust kindly leant me this set to try out and to take some pictures of. I adore the range, everything from the history to the beautiful design is lovely.

Of course no tea set would be complete with a great cuppa to go with it. The National Trust offer an amazing selection of tea, in lovely tins. As someone who only buys fairly traded tea and coffee, I am glad to see that National Trust Tea is Fairtrade too.

Featured Products:

side platecake slicecake standmilk jugcake forksteapotteacupnapkins

The range is available in selected National Trust shops or on the National Trust online shop.

Thank you to Matthew Storey for helping me with this post!

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