Illustrations in the First Editions of Orlando: A biography

Dust-jacket of first English edition (1928): an allegorical portrait c. 1570, formerly in the Worthing Museum & Art Gallery; the painting was destroyed by enemy action during the Second World War. Reproductions of the portrait appear in editions of Orlando edited by J. H. Stape (Shakespeare Head Press, 1998, p. [xxxii]; and see note, pp. 191-2) and by Brenda Lyons (Penguin Books, 1993, p. [v]). See also J. H. Stape, ‘“The Man at Worthing” and the Author of “the Most Insipid Verse She Had Ever Read”: Two Allusions in Orlando’, Virginia Woolf Miscellany, No. 50 (Fall 1997), pp. 5-6.

(1) Frontispiece: ‘Orlando as a Boy’: The Hon. Edward Sackville from ‘The Two Sons of Edward, 4th Earl of Dorset’ by Cornelius Nuie, in Lord Sackville’s private apartments, Knole.

(2) ‘The Russian Princess as a Child’: Angelica Bell, aged nine, photographed by Vanessa Bell.

(3) ‘The Archduchess Harriet’: Mary, 4th Countess of Dorset, by Marcus Gheeraerts, in Lord Sackville’s private apartments, Knole.

(4) ‘Orlando as Ambassador’: Richard Sackville, 5th Earl of Dorset, by Robert Walker (previously attributed to Gilbert Soest), in Knole collection.

(5) ‘Orlando on her return to England’: Vita Sackville-West photographed by Lenare, 2 November 1927.

(6) ‘Orlando about the year 1840’: Vita Sackville-West photographed by Vanessa Bell & Duncan Grant, 14 November 1927.

(7) ‘Marmaduke Bonthrop Shelmerdine, Esquire’: Unknown man c. 1820 by unknown artist, in Nigel Nicolson’s private collection, Sissinghurst.

(8) ‘Orlando at the present time’: Vita Sackville-West at Long Barn, photographed probably by Leonard Woolf, 29 April 1928.

Virginia and Vita visited Knole to choose portraits for Orlando: (1), (3) and (4), above, were used. For further information, see Virginia Woolf’s Letters, Vol. III, [14 October ]1927, [30 October 1927], [6 November 1927], [11 November 1927], [5 December 1927], [17 April 1928], [27 April 1928], 29 April [1928], [17 June 1928]. See also ‘A Note on the Illustrations’, Orlando, edited by Brenda Lyons with an Introduction and Notes by Sandra M. Gilbert (Penguin Books, 1993), pp. xlvii-xlix; and ‘Appendix D: The Illustrations’, Orlando: The Original Holograph Draft, transcribed and edited by Stuart N. Clarke (S. N. Clarke, 1993), pp. 35-6.

copyright© Sheila M. Wilkinson, Stuart N. Clarke & VWSGB 2001, 2018

Orlando: The Original Holograph Draft
transcribed and edited by Stuart N. Clarke

Based on the holograph at Knole, this transcription follows the manuscript page for page and line for line, together with Woolf’s insertions, deletions and second thoughts. In studying the first draft, the reader can see the evolution of the novel and, in the passages that differ substantially from the published text, not only how they relate to that text but how they function in the draft. It offers a fascinating comparison with the published version.

‘One of the attractive features of his edition is that for the draft itself [Clarke] uses a typeface that mimics his early typed transcription of the draft, while for the front matter and notes he uses a modern typeface with proportional spacing. Thus the pages of Woolf’s text, paler in spindly type and laid out double space on generously-sized sheets, are set apart visually from the commentary. We almost feel we are dealing with one of Woolf’s corrected typescripts. Clarke’s edition invites us not just to consult a particular passage but to read the work, and to read it as an avant-texte.’
(From: Edward Bishop, ‘The Alfa and the Avant-texte’, in Editing Virginia Woolf: Interpreting the Modernist Text, ed. James M. Haule and J. H. Stape, Basingstoke: Palgrave, 2002, p. 152.)

Copies of this limited, numbered edition are available for £20 + p&p. To order, please email Stuart N. Clarke at: