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Vanessa Bell, née Stephen, born in London, England, was the older sister of Virginia Woolf. In 1896, she began to study drawing at Sir Arthur Cope’s School of Art in Kensington, and from 1901 to 1904 she studied painting at the Royal Academy of Art. After the death of their father in 1904, the sisters moved to the Bloomsbury district. Their brother Thoby Stephen introduced them to some of his Cambridge friends, who began meeting at the sisters' house along with other artists and intellectuals -- this eventually became known as the Bloomsbury Group. It included Clive Bell (who married Vanessa in 1907), John Maynard Keynes, E. M. Forster, Leonard Woolf, Lytton Strachey, David Garnett, Desmond MacCarthy, and Duncan Grant. Vanessa had three children: Julian Bell, Quentin Bell, and Angelica Garnett. She also lived with Duncan Grant and David Garnett, first at Wissett Lodge and then at Charleston Farmhouse in Suffolk. She is considered one of the major British portrait and landscape artists of the 20th century, as well as an important contributor to interior designer.
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