I am very grateful to Fran, a regular visitor here who having given me the wonderful little book Bloomsbury in Sussex, then undertook the pilgrimage across to Monk's House in the village of Rodmell to furnish me with the photographs. Monk's House, the Sussex home of Virginia and Leonard Woolf and now a National Trust property.
The photos have been a pure pleasure for me to look at after reading about the house, and my thanks to Fran for letting us all share them and I've added in some quotes from Simon Watney's excellent little book.
"A home, an office and a place of work, and never conventionally comfortable, it was a house of 'ramshackle informality'..."
Badly neglected when the Woolf's purchased it in July 1919 for £700, according to a September entry in Virginia's diary 'Monk's House much improved 'after the fashion of a mongrel who wins your heart...'
'An unpretending house, long & low, a house of many doors; on one side fronting the street of Rodmell, & wood boarded on that side...'
Whilst Virginia decorated inside, Leonard's domain was the garden.
"In 1927 she was painting another room blue, and wrote instructing Vanessa only half mock-complainingly:
'For God's sake take up the making of wallpapers. I'm sick of the long monotony of distemper, besides which, when dry it is totally different from what one expects.' "
"They lived frugally, spending little on clothes or luxuries. They bought books but were not serious collectors..."
Fireplaces were commissioned from Vanessa though Virginia took a while 'getting attached' to them thinking that 'perhaps the proportions are wrong.'
In the winter of 1934 she had a new free-standing wooden studio built away from the house at the churchyard end of the garden...
"This was Virginia's lodge from which she wrote in the summer months and from which she reported in the hot August of of 1937 that the Downs appeared 'the colour of lions,' "
"Leonard buried her ashes under a tall elm overlooking the meadows, one of two trees they had nicknamed after themselves. The tree fell in 1943."