Writing desk at which one would stand, designed and owned by Virginia Woolf. The sloping top of the desk features a central panel in two pieces, with hinges at the top. The panel lifts to reveal a storage compartment underneath.Two drawers are located below the storage area, one on each side of the desk. There are metal pulls on each drawer. The left-hand drawer pull surrounds a flower medalion; the medalion on the right-hand drawer is missing. The drawers and desk top each feature a metal lock, but no keys are present. Quentin Bell painted the figure of Cleo holding a trumpet on the top of the desk. He painted the rest of the desk, except the back, in grays with black accents. There are random spatters of paint present on all surfaces.
Collection contains a letter from Virginia Woolf to Quentin Bell. Topics include her cook's operation; distractions during the letter writing process, "How any woman with a family ever put pen to paper I cannot fathom;" how Vanessa Bell produced an old French lady to replace the cook; and relates the incident of lost keys to the [Gordon Square] flat. She informs Quentin that "We are now at Rodmell for Whitsun, and the Austrians are gliding over our heads like gulls. Yes, this is a fact. They have tents on the downs and prove that one can fly up and down Asheham Hill without an engine. As I never doubted it myself, I take little stock of it." This is in reference to very enthusiastic and popular Sussex gliding, or sail plane, club. After a bit of village business, she adds that the family cocker spaniel has had five pups and that "Julian [Bell, Quentin’s older brother] is coming to Charleston with a troupe next week." She also reports that the senior tutor of Kings College has been shot by one of his students. Woolf fills Quentin in on the further doings of the Keyneses, Roger Fry and his Aunt Vanessa with regard to a troublesome art show, from which Fry has resigned, and looks forward to each friend bringing her up to speed on the outcome. She tells Quentin that Vita Sackville-West's book is selling so well "that Leonard and I are hauling in money like pilchards from a net. We sell about 800 every day. The Edwardians it is called." Woolf asks her nephew if he is at his family's French retreat in Cassis, and asks for a letter from him describing his "life from the inside." In closing, she laments she hasn't actually said what she wanted to say, and that the "snap-snap of the typewriter frightens me as the snap of a turtle frightens fish. So good bye." Also contains a black-and-white photograph of Virginia Woolf and Quentin Bell, undated, but probably around 1930.
Collection consists largely of letters received by Aileen Pippett during the course of her research, writing, and post-publication of The Moth and the Star, a biography of Virginia Woolf. The collection's correspondants relayed their opinions (which were mixed) on Pippett's writing a biography of Woolf, and some included general impressions or memories of Woolf as Pippett conducted her research. Other letters are directed to Pippett relating to her printed reviews of other books. There is a letter from Vanessa Bell declining to contribute content to the biography. There are two letters from May Sarton discussing Virginia Woolf along with Pippett's review of Sarton's memoir, I Knew a Phoenix. The collection also includes a copy of Rumer Godden's mixed review of The Moth and the Star, along with letters between Pippett and Godden and their husbands, Roger Pippett and L. Haynes Dixon.