30 April 2010

Virginia Woolf, George Bernard Shaw, and Roger Fry at Fitzroy Square, Fitzrovia: Literary London #9

Two plaques are attached to 29 Fitzroy Square, the upper one with the following information:

'George Bernard Shaw lived in this house from 1887 to 1898.

From the coffers of his genius he enriched the world.'

The last sentence is what Shaw's housekeeper, Mrs Laden, wrote on a note that she attached to his gate to announce his death.

While Shaw lived here, along with his unsuccessful novels, he published his early plays: Widowers' Houses (1893), Arms and the Man, (1894) and Mrs Warren's Profession (1898).

The newer blue plaque is more sober:

'Virginia Stephen (Virginia Woolf) 1882-1941 Novelist and Critic lived here 1907-11.'

Woolf moved in here with her brother Adrian before moving on to 38 Brunswick Square, Bloomsbury.

At 33 Fitzroy Square, Roger Fry had his Omega Studios between 1913 and 1919. Fry was a 'member' of the Bloomsbury Group, and soundproofed his walls with seaweed. Wyndham Lewis also used the premises, but left after a strong argument and started the Vorticists.

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