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Virginia Woolf

Virginia Woolf (25 January 1882 – 28 March 1941) was an English writer, considered one of the most important modernist authors of the 20th century. Having lost her mother, her half-sister and then her father early in life, her family moved within London from Kensington to the more bohemian Bloomsbury, where they adopted a free-spirited lifestyle. She began writing professionally in 1900, and it was in Bloomsbury that, in conjunction with her brothers and their intellectual friends, the artistic and literary Bloomsbury Group was formed. In 1912, she married political theorist and author Leonard Woolf. Her reputation was at its greatest during the 1930s, but declined following World War II. The growth of feminist criticism in the 1970s helped re-establish her reputation. She suffered from ongoing mental health issues and drowned herself during a fit of depression in 1941.

This picture is a studio portrait of Woolf at the age of 20, then known before her marriage as Virginia Stephen, taken in 1902 by British photographer George Charles Beresford.

Photograph credit: George Charles Beresford; restored by Adam Cuerden

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