In October 1916 Vanessa Bell, Duncan Grant and the writer David Garnett moved into Charleston Farmhouse, on the South Downs in Sussex. This unusually large painting was intended for the garden room of the new house. It was never installed, and the artist kept it folded up. It was only rediscovered with the revival of enthusiasm for the art of Bloomsbury in the 1970s.
Bathers were painted by many of the French painters Bell admired, including Cézanne, Degas and Matisse. Originally the figure was partially clothed; there is a photograph of an earlier version of the painting in the display case in this room.
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