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Charleston Papers

Reference Code: GBR/0272/CHA

Scope and Contents

The collection of Charleston papers contains mainly the correspondence of Clive Bell, Vanessa Bell and Duncan Grant which had accumulated at their home, Charleston Farm House. In 1965 the papers were sorted by Professor Quentin Bell and were deposited in King's College Library by Professor Bell and Mrs Angelica Garnett. Two sets of photocopies of some of the papers were made by the College at the time of deposit, one set to be kept by the College and the other set by Professor Bell. The set of photocopies owned by the College formed the series previously called CHAX.
Some of the original letters were sold between 1965 and 1979; most of the remaining originals were removed in 1979 and were auctioned in 1980 at Sotheby's to raise funds for The Charleston Trust for the restoration of Charleston Farm House. Some boxes of original material remained at King's College; these were catalogued by the Archivist, Michael Halls, and formed the CHAO series of originals. Other related papers are held in the Bloomsbury Archives at the University of Sussex.
The current catalogue has brought the originals and the photocopies together, and includes letters given since 1980 by Anne Olivier Bell. The Appendices referred to throughout are not currently available over the internet but may be consulted in the Archive Centre reading room.

Photocopies of letters are always noted in the catalogue as such. Where there is no indication, the documents described are the originals.
The photocopies were stored at King’s College in the order they were presented and listed by Professor Bell. A copy of Professor Bell’s list of the contents of each file of photocopies has been included with the copied letters. Where letters clearly belonged within a file of correspondence, the letters have been left in their original order and a cross-reference made under the names of the author and recipient. Where the letters in a file of photocopies appeared to be unrelated and gathered by recipient rather than author, they have been separated out and arranged by author in the main sequence of correspondence. This rearrangement has occurred mainly for letters written to Clive Bell by various authors where the authors had no relation to each other. Where the original and the photocopy of the same letter were held, the photocopy has been destroyed, except in the group of letters relating to Virginia Woolf’s death (CHA/1/697).
Appendix 2 contains a list of the correspondence contained in two files of original letters from various authors to Vanessa Bell and Duncan Grant, given by Anne Olivier Bell in 2002.
Appendix 3 contains a list of letters of condolence to Vanessa, Clive and Quentin Bell on the death of Julian.
Appendix 4 contains a concordance of the reference numbers for the former CHAX photocopies as they were arranged and numbered by Professor Bell, and their new references.
* Readers may not order copies of the photocopied letters in this collection.*
Notes on the form of personal names used
Surnames have been catalogued according to the National Council on Archives Rules for the Construction of Personal, Place and Corporate Names (1997). The last part of each surname has been used to catalogue the correspondence, with the exception of hyphenated surnames which have been catalogued by the first part of the name e.g. Campbell-Gray, Diana rather than Gray, Diana Campbell-. Titled authors have been catalogued by their family name, with a cross-reference from their title, e.g. Brett, Oliver Sylvian Baliol (Viscount Esher). The source used for titles is Burke’s Peerage, Baronetage and Knightage, (Hundredth edition, 1956). Oriental names have been catalogued by the first part of the name, with a cross-reference from the middle and last parts of the name. An exception has been made where letters are signed partly with initials, e.g. Chang, P. C.


  • Creation: 1869 - 1964



30 archive box(es) (30 boxes) : paper

Language of Materials



Letters are catalogued by author. A separate list of recipients may be found in Appendix 1.

Related Materials

See also Misc. 33/1 and 33/12 for Duncan Grant, and AG for Vanessa Bell.


This catalogue was completed by Elizabeth Pridmore in March 2003 and updated in November 2003. It was edited for publication on the internet by Dorthea Sartain and Elizabeth Pridmore.

Date information

DateText: Chiefly c. 1869-1963; publications from 2005.


Bell, Clive; Bell, Vanessa; Grant, Duncan (c.1869-1963)

2003-03-21 10:41:13+00:00
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Archive Centre, King's College, Cambridge Repository

King's College
Cambridge CB2 1ST United Kingdom
+44 (0)1223 331444