Julia Stephen at the Bear, Grindelwald, Switzerland, 1889

by Gabriel Loppé (1825-1913)

Julia Stephen

This was Vanessa Bell’s favorite photograph of her mother. It was taken by Leslie Stephen’s friend Gabriel Loppé, the French painter of the high Alps. The subject is very reminiscent of the final scene in Virginia Woolf’s essay, On Being Ill (1930). The essay ends with a description of the third Marchioness of Waterford gazing out the window on the day of her husband’s funeral. “She knew it before they told her, and never could Sir John Leslie forget, when he ran downstairs on the day of the burial, the beauty of the great lady standing to see the hearse depart, nor when he came back, how the curtain, heavy, mid-Victorian, plush perhaps, was all crushed together where she had grasped it in her agony.”

Reproduction of plate 39c from
Leslie Stephen’s Photograph Album
Original: silver print (16.8 x 11.9 cm.)
Mortimer Rare Book Room, Smith College

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