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Umbrellas (1917)

Dorothy Eugénie Brett

oil on canvas

Manchester Art Gallery

CAS does not have copyright clearance.





Oil, Canvas


139.5 x 140.4 cm

Accession Number:



Presented by the Contemporary Art Society, 1996

Ownership history:

Purchased by Lord Henry Cavendish-Bentinck (1863-1931) for the Contemporary Art Society, 1918; presented to Manchester Art Gallery, 1996


Bloomsbury Group
Stylised figure composition in outdoor park setting. Group of figures in foreground, comprising bearded man to right beneath ivory coloured umbrella, limply holding a book in his right hand; woman in pale pink dress and yellow hat in centre beneath green umbrella, seated in deckchair facing young man in grey suit crouching to left. More figures in background beneath coloured umbrellas to left and right.

Some are the artist's 'Bloomsbury Group' friends, composed of writers and artists, and they have all been identified from left to right: Sir Philip and Lady Ottoline's daughter Julian Morrell (1906-1989); and seated Aldous Huxley (1894-1963); the Hon. Dorothy Brett herself, Viscount Esher's daughter who had studied at the Slade School of Fine Art; their patron and Contemporary Art Society co-founder Lady Ottoline Morrell (1873-1938); Lytton Strachey (1880-1932); with the future married couple John Middleton Murry (1889-1957) and Katherine Mansfield (1888-1923) standing close together in the background. They were probably gathered at Garsington Manor, near Oxford, the Morrell's infamous wartime country retreat. The painting was purchased for the Contemporary Art Society to distribute as a donation to a public museum by Lord Henry Cavendish-Bentinck (1863-1931), CAS chairman and Lady Ottoline Morrell's brother, the year after it was painted but surprisingly it took nearly 80 years to find a permanent home at Manchester Art Gallery in 1996.

On the invitation of D. H. Lawrence, Brett left England for Taos, New Mexico, USA in 1924 where she remained for the rest of her life. She is now known for her mystical paintings of Pueblo Indian life. 

All rights reserved. Any further use will need to be cleared with the rights holder. Permission granted to reproduce for personal and educational use only. Commercial copying, hiring, lending is prohibited. The collection that owns this artwork may have more information on their own website about permitted uses and image licensing options.

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