Virginia Woolf’s Family

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Virginia Woolf came from a large family and artistic family. Woolf was originally born Virginia Stephen in London in 1882.

Her parents were Sir Leslie Stephen and Julia Jackson. She had three full siblings and four half-siblings:

Full Siblings:
Vanessa Stephen (1879-1961)
Adrian Stephen (1883-1948)
Thoby Stephen (1880-1906)

Half-Siblings:
Laura Makepeace Stephen (1870-1945)
Stella Duckworth (1869-1897)
Gerald Duckworth (1870-1937)
George Duckworth (1868-1934)

Gerald Duckworth, Virginia Woolf, Thoby Stephen, Vanessa Stephen, and George Duckworth (back row); Adrian Stephen, Julia Duckworth Stephen, and Leslie Stephen (front row) at Alenhoe, Wimbledon in 1892

Gerald Duckworth, Virginia Woolf, Thoby Stephen, Vanessa Stephen, and George Duckworth (back row); Adrian Stephen, Julia Duckworth Stephen, and Leslie Stephen (front row) at Alenhoe, Wimbledon in 1892

Virginia Stephen married Leonard Woolf in 1912. The couple never had children, but their siblings had many children who have since carried on the family tradition of art, writing and creativity. Fortunately, the spirit of the Bloomsbury Group still lives on through these children.

Most of Virginia’s relatives still live in England and many of them are located in London. The following is a list of Virginia’s living relatives and family members.

Virginia Woolf’s Living Family Members:

Anne Olivier Bell
Anne Olivier Bell is the widow of Quentin Bell. Quentin was the son of Vanessa Stephen and Clive Bell. Anne was the editor of Virginia Woolf’s diaries and was featured in the news in 2013 when it was revealed that she was one of the only female members of the British Monument’s Men team.

Julian Bell
Julian Bell is the son of Quentin Bell and Anne Olivier Bell and the grandson of Vanessa Stephen and Clive Bell. He is named after his uncle, who died in the Spanish Civil War in 1937. Julian is an artist and writer living in Lewes, England.
Official website: www.jbell.co.uk

Virginia Nicholson
Virginia Nicholson is the daughter of Quentin Bell and Anne Olivier Bell and the granddaughter of Vanessa Stephen and Clive Bell. She is a writer who writes primarily about women’s history. Virginia lives in Sussex, England.
Official website: www.virginianicholson.co.uk

Cressida Bell
Cressida Bell is the daughter of Quentin Bell and Anne Olivier Bell and the granddaughter of Vanessa Stephen and Clive Bell. She is an artist living in London.
Official website: www.cressidabell.com
Facebook: www.facebook.com/pages/Cressida-Bell/

Emma Woolf
Emma Woolf is the daughter of Leonard Woolf’s nephew, Cecil Woolf, and is Virginia Woolf’s great-niece by marriage. She is a writer living in London.
Official Website: www.emmawoolf1.blogspot.com
Twitter: @ejwoolf

Henrietta Garnett
Henrietta Garnett is the daughter of Angelica Bell and David Garnett and the granddaughter of Vanessa Stephen and Duncan Grant. She is a writer living in London.
Official website: www.panmacmillan.com/author/henriettagarnett

Virginia Woolf’s Deceased Family Members:

Angelica Bell Garnett (1918-2012)
Angelica was the daughter of Vanessa Stephen and Duncan Grant (Angelica was given the surname of Vanessa’s husband.) Angelica was an artist and writer who later married Bloomsbury Group member, David Garnett, in 1942.

Her most notable work was her memoir “Deceived With Kindness: a Bloomsbury Childhood” which the New York Times called “..a self-reflexive, self-congratulatory milieu in which art was all, sex was the coin of the realm and the only real transgression was the unpardonable sin of being ordinary.”

In 2010, Angelica granted an interview with the Guardian during which she gushed over her aunt, Virginia Woolf, and dispelled the myth that Virginia was melancholy and aloof:

“I was very fond of her and she was a very charming and delightful aunt to have. Most people seem to think she was somebody who was always on the edge of a nervous breakdown, but she wasn’t. She was enormous fun.”

Angelica had four daughters with David Garnett: Amaryllis, Nerissa, Frances and Henrietta.

Amaryllis Garnett (1943-1973)
Amaryllis was the daughter of Angelica Bell and David Garnett. She died in 1973 of a suspected suicide when she drowned in the Thames. Amaryllis was an actress and starred in the 1971 movie, The Go-Between, and an episode of the ITV Play of the Week, titled “A Choice of Kings,” in 1966.

Nerissa Garnett (died in 2004)
Nerrisa was the daughter of Angelica Bell and David Garnett. Not much is known about her life. She died of a brain tumor in 2004.

Julian Bell (1908-1937)
Julian was the son of Vanessa Stephen and Clive Bell. He was killed in the Spanish Civil War. Julian was a poet who had published two volumes of poems before his death, titled Winter Movement and Work for the Winter.

Quentin Bell (1910-1996)
Quentin was the son of Vanessa Stephen and Clive Bell. Quentin was a teacher, author and editor. His most notable work was the biography of his aunt Virginia, titled “Virginia Woolf: a Biography,” published in 1972.

Vanessa Stephen (1879-1961)
Vanessa was the daughter of Sir Leslie Stephen and Julia Jackson. She was a painter and a member of the Bloomsbury Group.

Thoby Stephen (1880-1906)
Thoby was the son of Sir Leslie Stephen and Julia Jackson. He died of Typhoid after a trip to Greece in 1906.

Adrian Stephen (1883-1948)
Adrian was the son of Sir Leslie Stephen and Julia Jackson. He was an author, psychoanalyst and member of the Bloomsbury Group.

Stella Duckworth (1869-1897)
Stella was the daughter of Herbert Duckworth and Julia Jackson. She died in 1897 of peritonitis after having an appendectomy during early pregnancy.

Gerald Duckworth (1870-1937)
Gerald was the son of Herbert Duckworth and Julia Jackson. He was a publisher who founded the George Duckworth and Company Ltd in 1898.

George Duckworth (1868-1934)
George was the son of Herbert Duckworth and Julia Jackson. He was a public servant.

Laura Makepeace Stephen (1870-1945)
Laura was the daughter of Sir Leslie Stephen and Harriet Marian.

Julia Prinsep Jackson (1846-1895)
Julia was the mother of Virginia Woolf and wife of Sir Leslie Stephen and the widow of Herbert Duckworth. She died of a fever in 1895.

Sir Leslie Stephen (1832–1904)
Leslie was the father of Virginia Woolf and husband of Julia Jackson and the widower of Harriet Marian. He was an editor, author and critic. In recognition for his literary career, he was knighted in 1902. He died of cancer in 1904.

Julia Margaret Pattle Cameron (1815–1879)
Julia was the daughter of Adeline de L’Etang and James Pattle and the aunt of Julia Jackson. She was a British photographer best known for her photos of celebrities and her themed photos involving biblical, Arthurian and other legendary imagery.

Chevalier Pierre Ambrose Antoine de L’Etang (born 1757)
Chevalier Pierre Ambrose Antoine de L’Etang was Virginia Woolf’s great-great grandfather. He was a French nobleman and at the age of 13 was appointed as a personal page to Marie Antoinette. He later become stable master of the royal stables at Versailles and became a member of King Louis XVI’s Garde du Corps.

In addition to her blood relatives, Virginia Woolf also had a beloved godfather, the American writer James Russell Lowell.

For more information on Virginia Woolf’s family, check out the following article: Virginia Woolf’s Family Tree.

Sources:
The Daily Mail; Did Great-Aunt Virginia Woolf Have Anorexia? Her Great Niece, a Former Sufferer, Investigates; Emma Woolf; May 2013: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/home/you/article-2329573/Did-great-aunt-Virginia-Woolf-anorexia-Her-great-niece-sufferer-investigates.html
Chicago Tribune: Quentin Bell, Virginia Woolf’s Nephew, Biographer; December 1996:http://articles.chicagotribune.com/1996-12-23/news/9612230002_1_leonard-woolf-quentin-bell-clive-bell
The Independent; Obituary: Professor Quentin Bell; December 1996:http://www.independent.co.uk/news/people/obituary-professor-quentin-bell-1315047.html
IMDB: Amaryllis Garnett: http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0307793/
The Guardian; Bloomsbury Secrets and Lies; Susanna Rustin; January 2010: http://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2010/jan/16/bloomsbury-vanessa-bell-virginia-woolf
New York Times; Angelica Garnett, Writer of Frank Memoir of Bloomsbury Childhood, Dies at 93; May 2012: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/05/13/books/angelica-garnett-memoirist-of-bloomsbury-dies-at-93.html?_r=0
Daily Mail; Poisoned Legacy of the Bloomsbury Set; Liz Hodgkinson; May 2012: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-2148482/Poisoned-legacy-Bloomsbury-Set-How-woman-haunted-tragic-lives-friends–dazzling-sisters-descended-bohemian-artists-notorious-sex-lives.html
The Guardian: We Need To Talk About Graham;Virginia Nicholson; May 2011: http://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2011/may/21/virginia-nicholson-mother-war-and-peace
The Telegraph; Heroines on the Home Front; Cassandra Jardine; May 2011: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/hay-festival/8536370/Virginia-Nicholson-at-Hay-Festival-Heroines-on-the-home-front.html
New York Times; Leonard Woolf; Victoria Glendinning; May 2012: http://www.nytimes.com/2006/12/10/books/chapters/1210-1st-glen.html?pagewanted=all
Leonard Woolf: a Biography; Victoria Dinnings; 2006

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About Rebecca Beatrice Brooks

Rebecca Beatrice Brooks is a freelance writer and history lover who got her start in journalism working for small-town newspapers in Massachusetts and New Hampshire. Rebecca graduated from the University of New Hampshire with a B.A. in Journalism in 2001.

1 thought on “Virginia Woolf’s Family

  1. Liam Mansfield

    Fascinating to read about the young boy ,page to Marie Anoinette.

    Did Virginia write about him at all?

    Liam

    Reply

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