Today we’re offering you a unique Virginia Woolf portrait print for free. To celebrate the launch of our own ‘Read + Doodle Book 1’, which includes Virginia Woolf’s short story ‘The Mark on the Wall’, we have created a beautiful new printable artwork. Better still, it’s ready for instant download right now via the link at the end of this article. Our sensitive portrayal of the much-loved modernist author will make a fantastic addition to the wall of any literature-loving home.
Our inspiration for this new artwork comes from the iconic portrait of Virginia Woolf photographed by G.C.Beresford in 1902. Virginia Stephens as she was then, was only 20 years old and not yet married to Leonard Woolf. She was accompanied at the sitting by both her father Sir Leslie Stephens and her sister Vanessa. They both also had their portraits taken by Beresford, who had recently set up his studio in Knightsbridge, London.
What’s most striking about these beautiful early photographs is Virginia’s familiar aquiline profile and deep thoughtful eyes. The platinotype method employed by Beresford creates a photographic print which has an atmosphere all of its own. These prints are warm and romantic, with soft reddish-brown tones. In our portrait we have endeavored to keep that sense of romance, combining soft loose marks with sharper sepia-brown lines.
Virginia Woolf — portrait reluctant
Later in life Virginia Woolf was actually not a keen portrait-sitter at all. But in a world so connected into artistic circles it was inevitable she would become the subject anyway. Many later portraits exist both as photographs and paintings. Virginia’s sister the artist Vanessa Bell painted perhaps the most at-ease images of her. Many photographers, including the famous Man Ray, made portraits throughout her life — sometimes to her own irritation. In a letter of 1939, Virginia complained angrily about photographs by Gisèle Freund being exhibited.
“I am in a rage. That devil woman Gisele Freund calmly tells me she’s showing those d—d photographs—and I made it a condition she shouldn’t. Don’t you think it damnable?—considering how they filched and pilfered and gate crashed—the treacherous vermin. Do give her a piece of your mind if you see her. I loathe being hoisted about on top of a stick for any one to stare at.” – From a letter to Vita Sackville-West, August, 1939
How to get and use your free printable art print
You can download our high resolution printable artwork in PDF (Adobe Acrobat) format from the page linked at the end this article. We have two versions included, one for standard Letter Size paper (8.5inch by 11inch) and one for A4 Size (210mm by 297mm). You can print out this lovely artwork straight away using any good inkjet or laser printer, then simply frame it and treasure it! If you are intending to display the portrait we would suggest choosing photo-quality matte paper and printing using your printer’s highest quality setting. An alternative is to take it to your local print shop and have it printed out for you there. You can open and print the files from your computer using Adobe Acrobat ® Reader. If you don’t already have it, Acrobat Reader is available to download free from here.