Dora Carrington

Carrington's Letters
  • Carrington's Letters

  • Dora Carrington

    Carrington's beguiling letters take us beyond the Bloomsbury group to discuss sexual mores, how to be an artist, and what it is to be truly oneself.

    Known only by her surname, Dora Carrington was the star of her year at the Slade School of Fine Art, and was friends with some of the greatest minds of her day, including Virginia Woolf, Rosamund Lehmann and Maynard Keynes.

    For over a decade she was the companion of homosexual writer Lytton Strachey, and - stricken without him- killed herself when he died in 1932. Though she never achieved the fame her early career promised, in her determination to live life according to her own nature – especially in relation to her work and her fluid attitude to sex, gender and sexuality – she fought battles that remain familiar and urgent today.

    Now, through her passionate, playful and honest letters, we can encounter the maverick artist and compelling personality afresh and in her own words.

Dora Carrington was born in 1893 in Hereford. At seventeen she enrolled at the Slade School of Fine Art, part of an extraordinary generation of painters including Mark Gertler and Paul and John Nash. She painted her friends, her house, her animals, her furniture and designed jackets for books published by Virginia and Leonard Woolf’s Hogarth Press. She was the long-time companion of writer Lytton Strachey, though in 1921 she married Ralph Partridge, who joined her and Lytton in a largely harmonious ménage à trois. In 1932, after the death of Strachey from cancer, she committed suicide, aged thirty-eight. Anne Chisholm is a biographer and critic who has also worked in journalism and publishing. She has written biographies of Nancy Cunard, which won the Silver PEN Prize for non-fiction, Lord Beaverbrook (with Michael Davie) which was runner-up for the Hawthornden Prize, and, most recently, of the diarist and Bloomsbury insider Frances Partridge, which was shortlisted for the Marsh Biography Award. She is a former chair and now vice president of the Royal Society of Literature.