A MAJOR new exhibition is set to open in York featuring the writers, artists and thinkers who had a profound effect on British art and literature.

Beyond Bloomsbury: Life, Love & Legacy at York Art Gallery explores the lives and works of members of the Bloomsbury Group, who met for 30 years in the first half of the twentieth century.

Key figures included the writer and feminist pioneer Virginia Woolf and her sister Vanessa Bell, the painter.

The exhibition, in partnership with the National Portrait Gallery and Sheffield Museums, runs from Friday, March 3 until Sunday, June 5.

The displays will showcase more than 60 major loans of oil paintings, sculpture, drawings and photographs by Bell and her contemporaries, including Dora Carrington, Roger Fry, Duncan Grant, Paul Nash, Gwen Raverat and Ray Strachey. 

There will also be new works by the artist Sahara Longe, specially commissioned by York Museums Trust and Sheffield Museums.

Visitors will also see the exclusive premiere of Bloomsbury-inspired murals designed by graphic artist Lydia Caprani who also worked with York LGBT Forum and Kyra Women’s Group to create decorative pieces for the exhibition.

The Bloomsbury group is famous for its members’ unconventional relationships with one another, and credited in helping with monumental shifts in the LGBTQ+ rights movement.

Writer Dorothy Parker famously remarked that the Bloomsbury Group ‘lived in squares, painted in circles and loved in triangles’.

Works displayed at York Art Gallery will examine the close circle of friends, their ideas, creative activities and celebrate the LGBTQ+ relationships of the Group.

Becky Gee, curator of fine art at York Museums Trust, said: “We are thrilled to be able to tell the stories of not only the artists, but the writers, dancers, activists and philanthropists that were connected to the Bloomsbury Group.

“We’re also delighted to be working with painter Sahara Longe who has produced four new portraits that will sit beautifully alongside those from the National Portrait Gallery’s Collection.”

Visitors will move through three parts of the exhibition. The first introduces the figures associated with the Bloomsbury Group, highlighting the importance of personal relationships, conversation and the privilege of time and space in which to pursue creative practice.

The second part centres on the Omega Workshops, an enterprise established by Roger Fry in 1913 that sold furniture, fabrics and homeware designed by leading artists of the day.

The concluding section focuses on activism and philanthropy, identifying causes of particular importance to individual members, while recognising how such beliefs and actions shaped the mentality of the Group as a whole. The Bloomsbury Group were involved in establishing the Contemporary Art Society.

Tickets are £10 per adult, concessions available.