Stephen Tomlin

Stephen Tomlin (2 March 1901 – 5 January 1937) was a British artist associated with the Bloomsbury Set. He was the youngest son of the judge and law lord Thomas, Lord Tomlin of Ash. He studied at New College, Oxford, from January 1919, leaving after two terms to take up sculpture.[1]

Stephen Tomlin
Tomlin poses with his lover Dora Carrington in the 1920s
Tomlin poses with his lover Dora Carrington in the 1920s
BornStephen Tomlin
(1901-03-02)2 March 1901
London, United Kingdom
Died5 January 1937(1937-01-05) (aged 35)
London, United Kingdom
Occupationartist, sculptor
Notable worksBust of Virginia Woolf, bust of Lytton Strachey
SpousesJulia Strachey (1927–34)

LifeEdit

 
Lady Ottoline Morrell (1873–1938), vintage snapshot print/NPG Ax142600. Dora Carrington; Stephen Tomlin; Walter John Herbert ('Sebastian') Sprott; Lytton Strachey, June 1926

Tomlin studied classics at New College, Oxford from January 1919. However, he suffered a nervous breakdown following the death of a fellow student and left after two terms. He then became a pupil of Frank Dobson and later established a career as a portrait sculptor.[2]

Tomlin's circle of friends, and sitters for portraits, included many members of the Bloomsbury Group, particularly second generation members like Francis Birrell and David Garnett.

Tomlin was bisexual and had affairs with a number of members of the Bloomsbury set including Henrietta Bingham[3] and Dora Carrington. In 1927 he married Julia Strachey, niece of Lytton Strachey.[4] His relationships with men are less well attested, probably due to the necessity of concealing homosexual activity which was at that time illegal in the United Kingdom under the Criminal Law Amendment Act.

 
Bust of Virginia Woolf in Tavistock Square, Bloomsbury, by Stephen Tomlin

One of Tomlin's boyfriends, known as 'H', also had a relationship with the artist Duncan Grant. 'H' worked in the drapery department at the now defunct Jones Brothers’ department store on the Holloway Road. When he and Tomlin visited Lytton Strachey at Ham Spray in the 1930s, 'H' was obliged to sleep downstairs with the servants.[5]

Tomlin co-founded The Cranium dining club with David Garnett, another member of the Bloomsbury Group; the club met every month to exchange ideas.[6]

Tomlin died in 1937 at the Royal Victoria Hospital, Boscombe, Hampshire.

Further readingEdit

  • Michael Bloch, Susan Fox: Bloomsbury stud : the life of Stephen "Tommy" Tomlin, London: M.A.B, 2020, ISBN 978-1-9163254-0-1

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ Simkin, John (August 2014). "Stephen Tomlin". Spartacus Educational. Retrieved 22 May 2016.
  2. ^ "Mapping the Practice and Profession of Sculpture in Britain and Ireland 1851–1951". sculpture.gla.ac.uk. University of Glasgow History of Art and HATII, online database 2011. Retrieved 22 May 2016.
  3. ^ Chisholm, Anne (27 June 2015). "Good Stories of Bad Bloomsbury Behaviour". The Spectator. The Spectator. Retrieved 22 May 2016.
  4. ^ Simkin, John (August 2014). "Stephen Tomlin". Spartacus Educational. Retrieved 22 May 2016.
  5. ^ Watney, Simon (January 13, 2011). "Duncan Grant and Queer Bloomsbury". Charleston.org.uk. Retrieved 22 May 2016.
  6. ^ "The Honourable Stephen Tomlin, Mapping the Practice and Profession of Sculpture in Britain and Ireland 1851–1951". sculpture.gla.ac.uk. Retrieved 22 May 2016.