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Portait Photographs by Lettice Ramsey

Here is a selection of a few of the thousands of portrait photographs that my maternal grandmother Lettice Ramsey took during her time at the Ramsey and Muspratt Studio in Cambridge. Her heyday was probably in the 1930's and 1940's when she was a very fashionable photographer and many of the leading lights of the Cambridge "scene" visited her studio in Post Office Terrace. She continued with "The Studio" for many years thereafter, taking wedding and other photographs until her retirement at the age of 80.

These images below have been scanned in from various prints and also a Charleston Calendar called "Bloomsbury Portraits by Lettice Ramsey" for 1990. To see a selection of her portraits of her family click here.

Joseph Needham, 1937

Joseph Needham, 1937

A British scientist, historian and sinologist famous for his scientific research and writing on the history of Chinese science.

Ernest Rutherford

Ernest Rutherford

The very famous Cambridge physicist and Nobel laureate.

Patrick Blackett, 1932

Patrick Blackett, 1932

An experimental physicist famous for his work on cloud chambers and cosmic rays for which he was awarded the Nobel Prize in 1948. He also workd on paleomagnetism, and advised on military strategy and developed Operational Research in the Second World War. Also a notable left winger, as were many in Cambridge in those days!

"Sage" Bernall 1935

John Desmond Bernal was called "Sage" by his friends. He was a distinguished scientist and known for pioneering X-ray crystallography in molecular biology. He was an FRS, and another Cambridge communist from the 1930's!


Homi Bahba, 1930's?

Homi Bhabha, FRS was famous Indian nuclear physicist who played a major role in the development of the Indian atomic energy programme. In the 1930's he was in Cambridge, and a great pal of Lettice's, I was told.

The Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC) is India's primary nuclear research facility based in Mumbai and changed its name after Homi Bhabha's early death in a plane crash in 1966.

Hugh Sykes Davies, 1933

Hugh Sykes Davies, 1933

Hugh Sykes Davies was an English poet, novelist and communist who was one of a small group of 1930s British surrealists. Again a notable figure on the Cambridge scene in the 1930's. He was a lecturer at St Johns College.

Richard Braithwaite 1932

Richard Braithwaite 1932

Richard Braithwaite was a Cambridge academic and philosopher.

Vladimir Daskal

Vladimir Daskal

Vladimir Daskal was an artist based in Cambridge in the 1930's with whom Lettice had some association. He lodged in her house for a time, and was another of her lovers. Vladimir also had a house in Mallorca. He later married Helen and had three daughters, the eldest of whom was called Nadia. She was born in about 1946,

Anna Daskal

Anna Daskal

Anna Daskal was was by far the most glamorous person that I've seen in Lettice's portaits! She was the second of Vladimir Daskal's three daughters. This photograph was taken in about 1963, making it much more recent than the others on this page.

Many thanks to her neice, Anna Watkins, for getting in touch to put me straight on these matters.

Julian Bell

Julian Bell

One of Lettice's many male 'friends', after the early death of her husband Frank, the remarkable philosopher and mathematician. Julian Bell was tragically killed in the Spanish Civil War, in a non combat role (driving an ambulance, I believe).

Julian Bell was a member of the Bloomsbury Group, as were those shown in the next six photographs.

Julian Bell

Julian Bell , 1933

Another less well preserved photo of Julian Bell.

Virginia Woolf and Angelica Garnett, 1932

Virginia Woolf was one of the most famous members of the Bloomsbury Group. Angelica Garnett was her neice (see below).

Angelica Garnett, nee Bell, 1931

Angelica Bell was the illegitimate daughter of the painters Duncan Grant and Vanessa Bell (sister of Virginia Woolf), and was a member of the Bloomsbury Group. She had two half-brothers, the poet Julian Bell, and the art historian Quentin Bell. All these people were photographed by Lettice and are shown on this page! Her mother's husband was Clive Bell.

She died only very recently - 4 May 2012, aged 93. This event was marked by many obituaries, including this one in the Guardian.

Leonard Woolf

Leonard Woolf, 1932

The husband of Virginia Woolf

Venassa Bell

Venassa Bell, 1932

Another of the Bloomsbury Group from Cambridge in the 1930's and Virginia Woolf's sister. She was married to Clive Bell, and they had two sons - Quentin (below) and Julian (above).

Quentin Bell

Quentin Bell, 1932

The son of Venessa Bell, and another of the Bloomsbury Group from Cambridge in the 1930's. Quentin became a notable art historian and artist in his own right and wrote a terrific biography of his aunt, Virginia Woolf.

Frances Partridge (nee Marshall)

Frances Marshall

Frances Partridge (nee Marshall) was another of the Bloomsbury Group from Cambridge in the 1930's, and lived to be over 100! She is most famous for the publication of her diaries.

Frank Ramsey

Frank Ramsey, 1925

Frank was a brilliant philisopher, mathematician and economist and, of course, briefly the husband of Lettice. Even today there is considerable interest in his work, which was cut short by his tragic early death in 1930, from complications following an operation on his liver.

There are very few photographs of him as he died so young. This is probably the most famous, taken in 1925 by Lettice while they were walking in the Lake District. This was well before Lettice became a professional photographer, and is not a very high quality photo! For some more photos of him, see my page on Lettice's family photos.

All pictures copyright Stephen Burch  

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