Some of my favourite historic book jackets are those designed by Vanessa Bell for the Hogarth Press, and in particular, for the books written by her sister, Virginia Woolf. Vanessa Bell, together with her husband Clive Bell, painter Duncan Grant as well as Virginia and Leonard Woolf, belonged to the group of artists and writers known as the Bloomsbury Group, although she has achieved a certain measure of independent success as attested by her paintings which hang in the Tate Britain Gallery. Recent cinema goers may remember Miranda Richardson’s excellent portrayal of her in The Hours, opposite Nicole Kidman’s Virginia Woolf, an Oscar-clinching performance in the category of Best Actress Wearing a False Nose.
This dust jacket from A Haunted House, a posthumously published collection of short stories by Virginia Woolf, is from a 1943 first edition in War Economy Standard (using cheaper paper etc. to save the country’s resources) and includes a fascinating back inner flap advertising the BBC radio broadcasts which transmitted news bulletins and Morse coded news across Europe during the Second World War.
virginia woolf first edition, 5, , 267