by Scholes, Robert
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Duncan Grant (1885 - 1978)
The following information has been drawn from the Tate Archive:
Duncan Grant was born in Scotland. His father was a major in the army, and much of his early childhood was spent in India and Burma. He returned to England in 1894 to attend school. He attended Westminster School of Art in 1902, and was introduced to the Bloomsbry group by his cousin, Lytton Strachey. At the beginning of 1906, with a letter of introduction from the French artist Simon Bussy and £100 from an aunt sympathetic to Grant's artistic interests, he went to Paris. He rented an attic room in a cheap hotel and enrolled at Jacques Emile Blanche's new art school, La Palette.
During his year in Paris Grant developed a number of important friendships. He met the British artists Wyndham Lewis, Henry Lamb and Augustus John, and was visited by the newly married Vanessa and Clive Bell, along with Vanessa's sister Virginia, and brother Adrian. Back in London, Duncan Grant formed relationships over the next few years that were to affect the course of his life and work. In 1908, he became romantically involved with Maynard Keynes, a university friend of his cousin Lytton Strachey. They travelled widely in Europe seeing much that would influence Grant's artistic style.
In 1910 Grant met Roger Fry who was to be a major influence on his work, and in 1913 his friendship with Vanessa Bell, who shared many of his ideas about art, developed into a relationship. Grant and Bell worked closely on artistic projects and, though Grant would have many parallel relationships with men, they remained close companions for the rest of their lives. In 1918 Vanessa gave birth to Duncan's child, Angelica Bell.