Anne Bell, 102, a last link with the Blooms­bury group

Weekend Argus (Sunday Edition) - - SUNDAY LEISURE -

ANNE Olivier Bell, who edited the di­aries of Vir­ginia Woolf into five land­mark vol­umes, and was a rare sur­viv­ing link to the Blooms­bury group, the co­terie of English artists and in­tel­lec­tu­als prom­i­nent in the first half of the last cen­tury, died on July 18 at her home in Firle in Sus­sex, Eng­land. She was 102.

She was in­ter­viewed of­ten late in life, and self-dep­re­ca­tion to­ward hav­ing been a part of so much his­tory was gen­er­ally her at­ti­tude.

“I haven’t any imag­i­na­tion,” she told The Tele­graph in 2014. “But I was lucky to spend my life among fas­ci­nat­ing peo­ple.”

Anne Olivier Popham was born on June 20, 1916, in Lon­don. Her father, AE Popham, was an au­thor­ity on Ital­ian draw­ings and keeper of prints and draw­ings at the Bri­tish Mu­seum.

Her mother, Bryn­hild (Olivier) Popham, was a cousin of the ac­tor Lau­rence Olivier.

Dur­ing the war Bell was a re­search as­sis­tant at the min­istry of in­for­ma­tion, and just after the war ended in 1945 she was re­cruited to join the Mon­u­ments Men – the Mon­u­ments, Fine Arts and Ar­chives Sec­tion – which had been cre­ated in 1943 by the Al­lied armies.

She was sent to the Bri­tish zone of oc­cu­pied Ger­many, where she co-or­di­nated of­fi­cers who were try­ing to re­pair dam­aged churches and other things of ar­chi­tec­tural or artis­tic sig­nif­i­cance.

“We didn’t have much power, and they were al­ways try­ing to com­man­deer cas­tles as their messes, and we were al­ways try­ing to stop them, be­cause they’d ruin them,” she told The Tele­graph.

She re­turned to Eng­land in 1947, work­ing at the Arts Coun­cil of Bri­tain, where she edited cat­a­logues and pre­pared ex­hi­bi­tions.

Quentin Bell, a son of Vanessa and Clive Bell, be­gan court­ing her. They mar­ried in 1952. He died in 1996. – The New York Times

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from South Africa

© PressReader. All rights reserved.