Bloomsbury Stud: The Art of Stephen Tomlin

5 Jun-11 Aug 2023

Philip Mould & Company
London SW1Y 5LU


Stephen Tomlin (1901-1937), the Bloomsbury group’s primary sculptor, immortalised the faces of Bloomsbury’s best-known characters, including Duncan Grant, Lytton Strachey and Virginia Woolf.

With inexhaustible charisma, disarming good looks and undeniable talent, Stephen Tomlin captivated his contemporaries, and references to Stephen ‘Tommy’ Tomlin pepper countless biographies of twentieth-century figures. However, until recently, that was where his story remained. 

Now the first major exhibition of his work at Philip Mould & Company is aiming to return Tomlin to the artistic spotlight where he belongs. 

The youngest son of five children born to Lord Tomlin of Ash and Marion Waterfield, Tomlin was a young man possessed of artistic sensibilities. He attended Harrow School for Boys and briefly studied at New College, Oxford but left after just two terms and travelled to Cornwall where he is likely to have met his artistic tutor, the artist Frank Dobson. Developing his skills with the celebrated sculptor in Cornwall, and later honing his draughtsmanship at the Slade School of Fine Art under Henry Tonks, Tomlin laid the foundations of his professional career.

Although he was a highly complex individual, ‘Tommy’ – as he was known to his friends – used his seductive charm, brilliant conversation and obvious ability as an artist to ensure that he was much in demand. Virginia Woolf described him as ‘the devastation of all hearts’, while the literary critic and writer Cyril Connolly commented that Tomlin was ‘the most interesting young person I have met’.

A few major names have come to define our view of the influential Bloomsbury group, the progressive band of avant-garde artists, writers and intellectuals. The Bloomsbury Stud: The Art of Stephen Tomlin seeks to explore an alternative view of the Bloomsbury group, through the eyes of its principal sculptor.

His recently published biography Bloomsbury Stud: The Life of Stephen 'Tommy' Tomlin lays bare the career of Bloomsbury’s forgotten iconographer. He died tragically young at the age of thirty-five, but his legacy speaks of a life lived intensely and ferociously. Drawing upon the transformative research undertaken for this project, this exhibition will reveal the life of Stephen Tomlin and re-present his era-defining sculptural images.

An exhibition designed in collaboration with Luke Edward Hall


Bloomsbury Stud: The Art of Stephen Tomlin
Philip Mould & Co


CATALOGUE | Bloomsbury Stud: The Art of Stephen Tomlin