Julian Heward Bell was the son of Vanessa and Clive Bell, and the older brother of Quentin Bell and Angelica Garnett. Virginia Woolf was their mother's sister. He was brought up mainly at his mother's farmhouse at Charleston, Sussex. He attended Cambridge University, where he joined the semi-secret society known as The Apostles, along with Anthony Blunt (later revealed to be a Soviet spy). In 1937, Julian went to Spain to support the Republican cause against Fascism in the Civil War. He served as an ambulance driver and was killed in the battle at Brunete, aged 29. His nephew (Quentin's son) is a painter also named Julian Bell.